Tamil Nadu Finance Minister PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan recently dismissed as "nonsense" demands made by some prominent persons for freeing temples from the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department.
Among the people who made the demand was spiritual leader and founder of Isha Foundation Jaggi Vasudev. Speaking about him, Thiagarajan told The Hindu, "In the case of Jaggi, he is a publicity hound who is trying to find another angle to make more money...Random people make random noise. These are the people who want to break the goodwill of society."
The minister further said, "Those making the demand have contended that temples should be run by 'bhaktas'...Will a godman, who is focused on god, be selling Sivarathiri tickets for Rs 5,00,000, Rs 50,000 and Rs 5,000? Is that a sign of a man of god? Is that the identifying mark of a spiritual man? He is a commercial operator pretending to use god and religion to get help."
He also noted that Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister PK Sekar Babu had announced that he would investigate if there are any violations at the Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore.
Jaggi Vasudev, in an interview to News18 in January, had said, "We live in times where we understand that the government should not manage airlines, airports, industry, mining, trade " but how is it that sacred temples can be managed by the government? What qualifies them?"
In March, he had launched a missed call campaign demanding that temples in Tamil Nadu should be freed from government control.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had also promised to 'free' temples from government control in its manifesto for the Tamil Nadu Assembly election 2021.