Jagan govt assures stringent action against culprits of Ram idol desecration


VIJAYANAGARAM: High tension prevailed at Ramatheertham in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh after TDP President Chandrababu Naidu and YSRCP’s Vijay Sai Reddy visited the temple where Lord Sri Ram›s head was cut off by miscreants. Members of the ruling party and the opposition took part in protests and counter protests at the site of the Sita Lakshmana Kodandarama temple.

YSRCP ministers Vellampalli Srinivas and Botsa Satyanarayana said that they were deeply saddened by the Ramatheertham temple incident and assured that serious action will be taken against those responsible for the heinous act. The ministers held a meeting with the temple authorities and priests and enquired about the incident.

Speaking after their visit to the temple, Minister for Endowments Vellampalli Srinivas said that the Ramatheertham incident was an inhuman act, and opposition leader Chandrababu Naidu has been politicizing it and blaming it on the government. During TDP’s rule, nearly 40 prestigious temples were demolished but today, Naidu has taken the ‘Jai Sri Ram’ slogan and is trying to provoke the sentiments of the public, he said.

Srinivas further stated that Chandrababu Naidu has no moral right to speak either on God or Hindu traditions, as he offered prayers wearing shoes. “If Chandrababu had a role in this incident, Lord Rama himself would punish him. Chandrababu Naidu wanted to use the issue of temples for the Tirupati by-election and local body elections,” the minister said, adding that doing politics with temples was not the right approach.

Minister for Municipal Administration Botsa Satyanarayana said that Chandrababu Naidu was conspiring to create unrest in the state and incite religious hatred, and that he had set up some groups to vandalize Hindu temples. He warned that destroying idols is an unforgivable crime and those behind the incident should be punished. “The TDP leaders are intentionally alleging the government›s role in the Ramatheertham incident and are trying to create communal disputes in the state. The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government would treat all religions equally and shall be responsible for the preservation of Hinduism,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha MP V. Vijayasai Reddy, who also visited Ramatheertham temple, demanded the resignation of Ashok Gajapati Raju, as the incident took place under his chairmanship. He said that the government will re-establish the temple, no matter what the cost, adding that those responsible for the demolition of the statue will be severely punished.

Reddy also asserted that Chandrababu and his son are responsible for the mischief in the Ramatheertham temple, where the incident, that took place in the early hours of December 29, was first reported by Chandrababu on social media. “This means that before anyone in the world knew, Chandrababu, his son, Lokesh and Ashok Gajapati Raju committed this atrocity together through their associates, after which they carried out a mudslinging campaign against the government,” Reddy alleged.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has already directed the Revenue Department to renovate the temple. Officials have estimated a cost of around Rs 1.50 crores for the task.