It’s God’s treasure and it should remain in shrine: Kerala CM

published on November 9, 2012

 Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Friday rejected the CPI(M) argument that the treasures at the Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram were public property even as Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan said he would implead in the case pertaining to the shrine in the Supreme Court. Chandy said the assets should remain within the temple itself.

 “These treasures belong to the Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple. It can never be seen as public property,” Chandy told newsmen in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday, within 24 hours of State CPI(M) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan making the claim that a major portion of the invaluable treasures kept in the shrine’s six secret vaults was public property.

Chandy said the case pertaining to the temple’s treasures was being heard by the Supreme Court and it is up to it to take the final decision on that matter. “We have informed the court that we will abide by its order,” he said, adding that his Government was ready to provide the necessary security for protecting the treasures as per the wishes of the court and devotees.

In response to Pinarayi’s contention that the control of the temple and its treasures should not be entrusted back to the erstwhile Travancore royal family, the traditional custodians of the shrine, Chandy said it was not appropriate to bring disrepute to the royal family which had kept the treasures intact toll date.

Stating that the safe upkeep of the treasures so far by the royalty was proof of the royalty’s honesty, the Chief Minister said, “At a time when corruption scandals are cropping up, it is a reason for Kerala and the royal family to be proud that the royalty had preserved the assets without any problem for so many years.”

While criticizing Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam for his recommendation to include a royal family member in the temple administration body, Pinarayi had said that a huge part of the treasures was national property and this should be handled as per methods of modern democracy, drawing flak from Hindu outfits and devotees.

Meanwhile, Achuthanandan stated that he was determined to implead in the case in the Supreme Court. “The amicus curiae had to have acted under the royalty’s influence. It is absolutely necessary to convince the court about the facts (concerning the temple and its treasures). It is also necessary that a just verdict comes from the court,” he told newsmen.

Both Pinarayi and Achuthanandan had attacked Subramaniam, former Solicitor General, for the statement in his report on the royalty by saying that he was acting like a “humble servant of the royal family” and that he was being loyal than the king. On Subramaniam’s report, Chandy said it was up to the court to take the final decision.

The treasures kept in the six cellars of the temple had become a subject of public discussions after the Kerala High Court ordered in January, 2011 that the State should take over the shrine’s administration by constituting a trust on the lines of Devaswom Boards. The Supreme Court later stayed this verdict on the basis of a petition from the royal family.

The treasures, roughly valued at over Rs 100,000 crore making it perhaps the richest Hindu shrine in the world, were presently being scientifically evaluated and documented by a committee of experts appointed by the Supreme Court. News about the treasures had brought the shrine to international attention last year.

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