Bengaluru: Were the funds of Vaishno Devi Shrine Board diverted to take care of Iftar parties? 

Well, a petition in this regard was filed at the Jammu and Kashmir high court by Baridar Sangharsh Committee and 54 others. 

Interestingly, they are seeking rights to the administration and governance of the holy Hindu shrine. The Baridars used to manage the temple's affairs until 1986, when it was taken over by the state.

It is stated in the petition that "shrine Board funds were squandered for throwing Iftaar parties in favour of members of a different religious group. It is argued that funds from the Shrine have been spent by the Board beyond the scope of Section 4 of the 1988 Act causing a broad daylight heist on Hindu sentiments".

A popular website added the petition has also argued that the ability of the Hindu community to manage its own religious institutions has been systematically eroded in the last few decades after they were placed under the "thumb of the state".

Lawyer appearing for the petitioners said, “Despite being equally empowered in taking over management, administration, and governance of religious institutions belonging to other religions, the State in brazen violation of Article 14 has exercised its authority only against Hindu Temples. In all the decades, the Hindu Religious Institutions in Jammu and Kashmir have been under the thumb of the State, the ability of the Hindu community to administer its own institutions has been systematically clipped and pared-down.”

Furthermore, it alleges that the Board has employed non-Hindus in administrative posts and systematically taken steps to destroy sacred landmarks such as Charan Padukas, Ardha Kunwari, and so on.

The petition wants equality to be restored under Article 14, 25 (2)(a), 26, 29, and 31 A (b) of the Indian Constitution.