Hyderabad, January 31: The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams has issued a showcause notice to 44 non-Hindu employees of the religious site and gave them three weeks’ time to reply as to why their service should not be terminated. TTD, which manages Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, stated their appointment was contrary to the rules.

The notice was issued after objections were raised over non-Hindu individuals working at the temple. The controversy erupted after a video of a TTD employee visiting a church in her official car and praying went viral, News18 reported.

On receiving the notice, one such employee said that he is disappointed with the decision as the entire family has been following Hinduism for quite a few years now. “I have served the TTD for years. I have proof to show that I am a Hindu. My marriage was in accordance with Hindu rituals. All ceremonies of my children were performed as per Hindu traditions. I will reply to the notice with all these facts,” he said.

“On verification of service record, it is found that you belong to Christian community and the appointment is contrary to TTD service rules and not permissible. You are hereby directed to give an explanation within three weeks as to why further action should not be initiated since you are not eligible for appointment in TTD,” said the notice.

The notice copy, dated January 11, informs employees about the rules and why action is being initiated against them. “GO 1060 of year 1989 stipulated that appointment to any categories, except in the case of teaching institutions shall be made only from persons professing Hindu religion. Subsequently, the rule was amended in 2007 vide GO 1372, that appointment to any of the posts to any of the category in any of the institutions administered or funded by TTD shall be made only among persons professing Hindu religion,” it said.

The TTD also gave assurance that terminated employees will be relocated to other state government departments.