A post claiming that the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Board is planning to auction off 13 of its temple owned properties is going viral on social media.
Claim: “आर्थिक मंदी के बहाने तमिलनाडु सरकार तिरुपति बालाजी समेत 13 मंदिरों के जमीन को करेगी नीलाम..!
लिस्ट जारी, सबरीमाला की तरह चुप मत रहो “
(Translation: Tamil Nadu government under the pretext of economic recession Tirupati will auction the land of 13 temples including Balaji ..! List released, don’t keep quiet like Sabarimala)
The claim that was posted by user Surender Singh Mahara was shared by more than 2,300 users.
Accounts impersonating journalist and political commentator Pushpendra Kulshreshta have tweeted the claim, with this tweet being retweeted by more than 1,600 users.
आर्थिक मंदी के बहाने तमिलनाडु सरकार तिरुपति बालाजी समेत 13 मंदिरों के जमीन को करेगी नीलाम लिस्ट जारी ये सब देखकर ऐसा लग रहा है जैसे हम फिर से मुगलों के गुलाम हो चुके है ये हिदुओं के अंत की शुरुवात हैं अगर अब भी हिन्दू नहीं जागा तो कभी नहीं जाग सकता गुलाम बनने के लिए त्यार रहो.!
— Pushpendra Kulshrestha (@RealPushpendra) May 25, 2020
(Translation: Tamil Nadu government will auction the list of 13 temples including Tirupati Balaji on the pretext of economic recession. Seeing all this, it seems as if we have become slaves of the Mughals again. This is the beginning of the end of the Hindus. If the Hindus still do not wake up, they can never wake up and will be ready to become slaves.)
आर्थिक मंदी के बहाने तमिलनाडु सरकार तिरुपति बालाजी समेत 13 मंदिरों के जमीन को करेगी नीलाम लिस्ट जारी सबरीमाला की तरह चुप मत रहो🤔
— साध्वी मिश्रा 🇮🇳🙏🙏 (@sadhvi006) May 24, 2020
It was just a proposal, no final decision.
The TTD’s official website indicates that the TTD does not fall under Tamil Nadu’s governance, but does so under the state government of Andhra Pradesh. The board has been chaired by Y V Subba Reddy since mid-2019.
The viral claims were made shortly after multiple media outlets stated that the board would auction off 23 of its ‘unviable’ and immovable properties that the trust had issues managing, citing financial trouble for the trust.
In a news report by Hindustan Times, TTD chairman Y V Subba Reddy clarified that it was a proposal put forward by the erstwhile board, which was going to be examined by a sub-committee.
Another article by the Outlook corroborates the first one, where chairperson Reddy denounces the claim as rumours.
A few days after these reports were published, multiple media outlets reported on the TTD Board deciding to cancel the auction, after public backlash.
The Hindu reported that the TTD board has decided to put in place a blanket ban on properties received as donations from now onwards.
In another report by The News Minute, the same point was stated and the board added that the lands that were considered for auction were ‘non-maintainable and non-revenue generating properties.’
Therefore, the viral claim is misleading. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam falls under the governance of the state of Andhra Pradesh and the auctioning of 23 properties was a proposal, not a final decision. The TTD has since decided to completely ban the sale of land donated to the temple trust.