With neighbouring Kerala in the news for appointing non-Brahmin priests to temples, non-Brahmins in Tamil Nadu who passed their priest training course in 2008, are also demanding employment, reports ToI.
According to reports, under former chief Minister M Karuananidhi, an ordinance was promulgated in 2006 to allow non-Brahmins to be trained to become priests and be hired by government managed temples. However, the ordinance was challenged by the Adi Saiva Sivachariyargal Nala Sangam and the Thennindia Thirukkoil Archagargal Paripalana Sabhai. The matter went up to the Supreme Court following which it said that temples can decide on recruitment of priests.
â€œIf the Kerala government can appoint non-Brahmins as priests in the temples, I don't know what stops Tamil Nadu government from doing so. We request the state government to recruit us as priests in temples as early as possible,â€œ said V Ranganathan, coordinator for the Tamil Nadu Government Trained Archakas' Association, to ToI. â€œWe fought the case in the SC for more than eight years, and still we are yet to find the job that we deserve. It's unfair," he added.
The Association claimed that despite being trained for priesthood, many of them have been doing odd jobs. They further demanded that the government reopen the archaka training centres.
This year, for the first time since the Travancore Devaswom Board was set up in 1949, that recruitment of temple employees has been made following government reservation norms in Kerala.
With this, the list of recruits that has 62 members in total, has 30 priests from OBC communities and six priests from Dalit communities. While some of the 36 priests got in through the quota, others figured in the merit list of the general quota.