Breaking tradition in Travancore Devaswom temple: Recruitment board appoints Dalits as priests
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, October 6: Breaking the tradition in temples, The Travancore Devaswom (Temple) Recruitment Board has shortlisted 36 people from Dalit and backward communities as temple priests.
According to the reports says that the complete list of a total number of 62 candidates was released on Thursday, all the candidates were chosen after interviews and necessary test.
This is the first time in Kerala, that appoints a priest in a temple on the basis of reservation norms which still exist in the recruitment of the government staff.
The total reservation for SC/ST and OBC categories is 32% and the candidate selected will now be appointed in temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board.
Rajagopalan Nair, Board chairman stated that this was the first time in Kerala temples that SC/ST and backward communities were being given reservation in the recruitment to appoints priests.
Meanwhile, Earlier reports show that some priests from backward communities who made it to the list through merit, demand for the reservations for Dalits has been persisting for several decades, the previous attempt shows to meet the demand had faced stiff resistance from certain quarters.But now we have made it a reality,’’
Rajagopalan Nair also added that in future, priests of other Devaswom boards, especially those in Cochin and Malabar, will be appointed in the same manner.
The decision comes five years after the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment, said that eligibility of priesthood should be the knowledge of rites and traditions, not the case. The court was hearing a petition filed by Rakesh KS, who was not allowed to take up the post of the priest at the Neerikodu Siva Temple in Ernakulam as he was an Ezhava.
Official statements stated that Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran given the instructions had been given by asking the board to comply with the merit list and reservation norms, in which the significant steps will now pave the way for the appointment of a priest in Sabarimala under the Travancore Devaswom Board.
Existing currents rules in Kerala shows that only Brahmins can hold the distinguished position in the temple. also, a petition is pending in the high court challenging the same and demanding appointment of Dalit priests.