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Calling upon archakas (temple priests) to fight for protecting the small but ancient temples spread across the rural pockets that were subjected to the government’s apathy, C.S. Rangarajan, priest from the Balaji temple at Chilukuru near Hyderabad, has said that the Andhra Pradesh Archaka Samakhya has launched a legal battle long back to protect the interests of the priests working in the small temples, who were being given a raw deal by the Department of Endowments.

Addressing the second annual conference of the Andhra Pancharatra Archaka Samakhya at Balabalaji temple at Appanapalli, Mr. Rangarajan said that in Christianity a big church could take care of the maintenance of the small cathedrals in its vicinity, but there was no such practice with regard to the Hindu temples.

‘Donations not being used properly’

“The government takes 21.5 per cent of the donations made by the devotees to temples and the Endowment Department is run with taxes collected from temples to pay salaries of its officers. But it hardly spends money on dilapidated temples or gives financial assistance to archakas or employees,” he said, adding that the temple protection movement was to highlight how the contributions made by devotees were not being spent for better upkeep of the temples, but to run the Endowment Department and pay salaries of its officers.

The samakhya felicitated eminent scholar and writer Rejeti Venkata Venugopalacharyulu on the occasion. President and secretary of the samakhya Ponduru Satyanarayanacharyulu, Seetaramanujacharyulu and others were present.