Hyderabad: Amid the nationwide protests and debate over the Citizenship Amendment Act, Chilkur Balaji temple chief priest C S Rangarajan has put forward a strange demand. Arguing that when all the refugees can be given citizenship, he asked why can’t the temple gods be given citizenship.

“Give citizenship to the deity of the famous Chilkur temple of Balaji Lord Venkateswara,” Rangarajan told TOI.

According to Rangarajan, every deity can be considered a minor and hence can be represented in court by a priest, trustee or executive officer.

“Under Section 5(4) of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act a minor can obtain citizenship rights, so deities of all the temples can be given citizenship rights under this provision,” he added.

He then demanded the government to register all Hindu deities like Venkateswara Swamy in Tirumala, Ayyappa Swamy in Sabarimala, and Padmanabhaswamy in Kerala as citizens under Section 5(4) of CAA.

He further remarked that the Hindu temples and religious and charitable institutions are facing threat from the secular state of India.

“Despite the constitutional provisions and judicial decisions, Hindu temples and religious and charitable institutions are routinely taken over by the secular state on the pretext of mismanagement, whereas other religious places are exclusively managed by the respective communities even though Article 26 confers Right to Equality among all sections of citizens,” he said.

Meanwhile, we really don’t know if his demand is a sarcastic take on the Citizenship Amendment Act or a legitimate one!