Protest during Rajasekhara Reddy's Chicago visit
May 10, 2007 - 6:09:30 PM

Chicago, May 10 - Over 400 Indians, including Hindu groups, held a protest here during the visit of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy against what they claimed were his government's highly detrimental policies towards Hindu institutions in the state.

The protesters, including doctors, IT professionals and businessmen, were upset over news from the state such as temple land scams, cancellation of Sri Rama Navami as Hindu holiday and misuse of temple funds.

Members of several organisations such as ISKCON, Indian American intellectual forum, Vishwa Hindu Parishad joined the protest held Sunday.

The protesters demanded repealing of the Hindu Endowments Act, religious freedom for Hindus in practising Hindu religion and management of Hindu institutions, a press release said.

Later, a delegation met the chief minister and expressed concern over the plight of temples in Andhra Pradesh. They claimed that thousands of acres of temple lands had been sold and temples' revenues diverted to non-Hindu causes. They also claimed that numerous temples have been demolished and temple lands encroached upon.

Reddy spoke of a recent amendment to the Endowment Act giving autonomy to about 30,000 temples in the state with less than Rs.50,000 annual income.

The chief minister is on a week-long tour to the US and Singapore.

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