Kerala government believes appointment of non-Brahmins and Dalits as temple priests is a 'silent revolution'
'A new history has been scripted by ensuring reservation as enshrined in the Constitution with the appointment of Dalits as priests,' said Kadakampally Surendran.
Thiruvananthapuram: The CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala on Tuesday termed the appointment of 36 non-Brahmins, including six Dalits, as priests in temples in the state under the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) as a "silent revolution".
"It is a silent revolution and a model for others to follow," Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran told reporters in Kerala's capital.
Indicating that more such appointments are on the anvil, he said there are more than 3,000 vacancies in different shrines managed by five temple boards — TDB, Cochin Devaswom, Malabar Devaswom, Guruvayur Devaswom and Koodalmanikayam Devaswom.
Due process was followed to ensure transprency in appointments, he said.
"A new history has been scripted by ensuring reservation as enshrined in the Constitution with the appointment of Dalits as priests," he said.
However, he said, reservation was not the prime consideration for selection. Those who have knowledge of rituals were appointed as priests.
Asked if the Kerala government has plans to appoint non-Brahmins as priests at the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala, under the control of the TDB, Surendran said it could be considered.
However, nothing could be carried out in a hurry, he said.
The TDB manages at least 1,248 shrines, including the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala.
The minister also thanked noted actor Kamal Hassan and DMK leader MK Stalin for appreciating the initiative of the LDF government.
He said the people of Kerala had also welcomed the government decision.
The Kerala Devaswom Recruitment Board had recently recommended 36 non-Brahmins, including six Dalits, for appointment as priests in temples in the state.
This is the first time six persons from the Scheduled Caste community have been recommended for appointment as priests.
Yedu Krishnan had on Monday become the first Dalit priest in Kerala to assume duties at the sanctum sanctorum of the Manappuram Lord Shiva Temple at nearby Thiruvalla.
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