Mysuru: Deputy Commissioner D. Randeep, who is also the Administrative Officer and the head of Disciplinary Committee, Chamundeshwari Temple has suspended Temple priest N. Srinivasan for keeping the ‘Mangalarathi Thatte’ (plate where devotees offer money) on the offering box thereby preventing devotees from putting money into the offering box.
In his order, Randeep said that by keeping the ‘Mangalarathi Thatte’ atop the offering box, the priest has lowered the dignity of the temple. In its report to the DC, the Disciplinary Committee had recommended action against Srinivasan for violating the rules.
Srinivasan, in the name of collecting money offered by the devotees in his ‘Mangalarathi Thatte’, used to block devotees from having darshan of Goddess Chamundeshwari. As per rules, the ‘Mangalarathi Thatte’ has to be kept on a stand behind the offering box. Instead, Srinivasan used to keep the ‘Mangalarathi Thatte’ on top of the offering box or Hundi, forcing the devotees to put money in the ‘Mangalarathi Thatte’ instead of the Hundi.
In his absence, Srinivasan also used to depute certain unauthorised persons to collect money by showing the ‘Mangalarathi Thatte’ to the devotees.
The Committee has stated that following many complaints and online petitions about priests fleecing devotees, the Committee observed that this collection of offerings from the devotees had led to a unhealthy competition among the priests to collect maximum money. Sometimes, they would hold the ‘Mangalarathi Thatte’ to the face of the devotees and refused to bring it down till the devotees put money in it.
All these activities have been recorded in the CCTV cameras inside the temple and the DC has suspended Srinivasan based on that evidence. Also, the priests have been warned not to indulge in such practices in future and maintain the holiness and sanctity of the shrine.