(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has sought to quell the raging row over the custody of the Rs1 trillion worth treasures unearthed from the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple here by affirming it as the temple property.
The opposition Communist Party of India - Marxist(CPM) had fuelled the controversy on Thursday by terming it as public property. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and various Hindu organisations had come out against the CPM contention.
Rejecting the party's demand for a separate administrative set up for the temple and a debate on the utilisation of the riches, Candy told reporters here on Friday that the consistent stand of the state government was that they belonged to the temple and it should be retained there.
However, the chief minister said the government will go by the directions of the Supreme Court, which is considering a petition filed by the erstwhile Travancore royal family challenging a Kerala high court verdict asking the state government to take over the temple and its wealth.
Referring to CPM state secretary, Pinarayi Vijayan's concern over the Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae's suggestion about involving the royal family with the administration of the temple, the chief minister said the safe preservation of the wealth so far showed their integrity.
He pointed out that the erstwhile rulers had safeguarded the temple wealth during the pre-Independence days when there were none to question them. The present attempts to cast doubts over the royal family's integrity are unfortunate, he added.
The CPM's demands evoked strong protests from various quarters. BJP state president V Muralidharan wondered whether the party was suggesting a separate administrative set up for the temple with an eye on the huge assets concealed in the temple vaults.
The Nair Service Society (NSS), which represents the upper caste Hindus, said that the CPM stand on the valuables was not acceptable to the organisation. NSS general secretary Sukumaran Nair said they would oppose tooth and nail any attempt to move the valuables from the temple.