AMARAVATI: In a sharp departure from tradition, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) is ready with its first batch of non-Brahmin priests. The priests, mainly belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe are expected to assume charge soon.
About 200 people from Dalit and backward communities have undergone rigorous training for three months as part of a pilot project by the TTD management.
“The management is going to appoint SC, ST priests in temples governed by it very soon,” TTD executive officer Anil Singhal said.
Singhal said this is the first time when members from downtrodden sections of the society are being given a chance in the recruitment process for world’s richest temple.
“The demand for reservation for Dalits for the priesthood has been persisting for several decades. Previous attempts to meet the demand have faced stiff resistance from certain quarters. But now we have made it a reality,” Singhal said during a press confference at Delhi.
The programme, which was taken up by the TTD’s Sri Venkateswara Employees’ Training Academy (SVETA) was launched two years ago but discontinued later.
Now the first batch of trained priests are out and very soon they will be appointed at the temples. TTD is going to construct around 500 temples in SC, ST and fishermen colonies along with the Endowments department.