Chennai: As part of its election promise, DMK government in Tamil Nadu on Saturday appointment 58 people from other castes who finished training as priests in the temples which come under Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment.
Over 15 years after the DMK regime in 2006 issued an order allowing people from all communities to become priests in temples, Chief Minister MK Stalin on Saturday here handed over appointment letters to 24 non-Brahmin priests and a woman as an ‘odhuvar’.
Though the government order for appointing people who are fully trained as priests from other castes was passed in 2006, so far only 2 were appointed as priests due to legal stay until 2015.
On Saturday the Chief Minister MK Stalin handed over appointment orders for 58 from various communities who finished training to become priests.
This was to mark the 100th day of the DMK government.
In the 58 who were appointed on Saturday, 5 are from scheduled classes, 6 from Most Backward Classes, 12 from Backward Classes and 1 from the general category. Along with this, appointments for 138 other people who will work in temples at different levels were also given.
This is the first time men from scheduled communities were appointed as priests in temples under the State’s management. Also, it is the second time a woman has been appointed an ‘odhuvar’ in a Hindu temple.
V Renganathan, president of Tamil Nadu Trained Archakas Students Sangam, said, “207 people were trained for one-and-half years in government training centres since 2007. But we could not get appointments due to a legal battle, and five of the trained priests died waiting. In 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the government order. Since then, only two of us got appointed in the AIADMK rule – one in 2018 and one in 2020.”
அனைத்துச் சாதியினரும் அர்ச்சகர் ஆகலாம் அரசாணையின் கீழ் பணிநியமன ஆணைகள் வழங்குதல். https://t.co/HTaevkapUM
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) August 14, 2021
The order, issued by the then Karunanidhi government in 2006, was a culmination of one of the longest campaigns of the Dravidian movement. An earlier law amendment passed by the DMK government in 1970 could not be implemented due to an unfavourable Supreme Court verdict in 1972. The 2006 government order also faced a legal challenge when Adi Saiva Sivachariyargal Nala Sangam filed a petition against it, and in 2015, the SC upheld the order.
The government said Dravidian idealogue Periyar struggled for equal rights to worship for all believers, and wanted people from all castes to become priests. The Karunanidhi government passed the order to “remove the thorn in Periyar’s heart” and the present government will follow Karunanidhi’s footsteps, it said.
Hindu religious and charitable endowment under the DMK Government also have announced that the HR&CE department will also train women who come forward to take up training to become priest in the temples in Tamil Nadu.
This appointments are made in line with the HR&CE departments latest announcement of performing Pooja’s in Tamil at the temples in the State and it has been already started at few important temples in the State and the priests who were given appointment orders today will be used for performing pooja’s in Tamil.