Most temples in Karnataka do not follow the new guidelines issued by Religious and Charitable Endowments or Muzrai department of Karnataka regarding the distribution and preparation of prasad in temples.
Religious and Endowments or Muzrai department of Karnataka issued a circular in December 2018, just after the case where several people died after consuming Prasad at Kicchugathi Maramma temple, Karnataka. The department issued a strict guidelines to regulate preparing and distribution of food in temple like the installation of CCTV cameras in kitchen and restricting unauthorized entries into the area where food is prepared and to check the food donated by devotees in temple before distributing it to others.
“Almost once in a week I visit temple. I buy prasad from outside the temple but never saw manufacturing date or expiry date on prasad. Most of the devotees do not know these guidelines issue by the department,” said Laxmikantha, devotee, Sri Rajarajeshwari Temple.
“The department passed the guidelines just after the case where 14 people died after the consumption of food served in temple. The circular has no deadline but we told all temple authorities to follow the new guideline quickly. We issued a circular in 2012 which include the rules of making the prasad in temple but many temples do not know about that circular that’s why the department issued a new circular and made it mandatory to follow the guideline regarding the distribution and preparation of food served in temple. We are trying to maintain the quality of prasad,” said Sristhi R, Secretary of Department of Religious and Charitable Endowment. Many people says mostly they get laddo or barfi as prasad in temples which can easily get spoiled in two days.
“Prasad cannot affect our life and I do not think it is necessary to check the quality of prasad. It is a food given by our god and I always get prasad without any box but it never affects my health,” said Kamla, devotee.
“We give the open prasad to our devotees. Sometimes, we serve the prasad which the devotees donate in temple,” said Purohit Mahalaxmi, priest, Vinayaka and Anjaneya Swamy temples.
The guidelines issued by the department are only for temples. Other religious places like gurudwara, church do not know about the circular.
“Every day we prepare langar in gurudwara. Only sevadar who has card is allowed to enter in kitchen. Many devotees do seva on regular basis but we have a separate kitchen in which only sevadar can enter. There are no guidelines regarding the preparation of food in gurudwara,” said Amandeep, sevadar, Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha.
Many people believe that the prasad cannot affect their lives. They do not check the quality of prasad.
“Devotees can file a case in court, if temple authorities are not following the guidelines issued by Muzrai department. But if a devotee does not know about the guideline than nothing can happen,” said Harshit Goyal, Advocate, Bangalore.