After many attacks on temples and idols, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy has swung into action and ordered a CID inquiry into the idol desecration of lord Rama at Ramateerdham of Vijayanagaram district and began a scathing attack on the opposition and said that whenever the government launches a new programme or scheme for the poor, the opposition wants to divert the attention of the public from pro-poor schemes to defame the government.
Jagan said that the attack on temples in Andhra Pradesh was akin to guerrilla warfare. He pointed out that most temples in the state come under the Revenue Department and that temples at remote locations were being targeted and the attacks happened at midnight. The Chief Minister alleged that it has reached such a situation where there is no fear or devotion for god. He questioned: “Who will gain out of damaging the idols and temples? Who will benefit from atrocities on places of worship? Who will gain by resorting to violence through instigation? Who will score by hurting people’s sentiments and fake campaigns? Who will gain out of a venomous campaign? People should think of all this–for what purpose and by targeting whom these are all being done. They are doing such things to tarnish the image of the government when we do any good work.”
On the other hand, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) chairman Y.V. Subba Reddy said it was true that the TDP was behind a series of incidents of destruction of idols. Speaking to media in Tadepalli on Monday, he said that all these were being done to tarnish the good name of CM Jagan. Many allegations have been made in the past in the case of TTD.
He said it was clarified that all the allegations that Srivastava had been converted into Jesus and that the lamps were depicted in a different way were proved wrong. However, he was outraged that the allegations were being made on purpose. He criticised Chandrababu for asking CBI inquiry who once not allowed the CBI to enter the state. “That is why the CBI should investigate if people want to know who is behind this and to whom it is unnecessary to do so,” he said.
On January 1, an idol of Lord Ram at Ramatheertham temple was found vandalised in Vizianagaram district. On Sunday, an idol of the Hindu deity Sita was found vandalised at Pandit Nehru Bus Station in Vijayawada. In another instance, an idol of Ketu was vandalised at Sivalayam at Vuyyuru in Vijayawada outskirts. Sawang also said that in 2020, around 228 cases of attacks on temples were registered in Andhra Pradesh.
Jaganmohan Reddy stated that most of the temples are not covered under the Endowments Department and these attack on temples has been happening in remote areas during late hours when no one is around, especially in private temples owned by the opposition. “We already installed CCTV cameras in 20,000 temples and yet, through a section of media and social platforms, opposition leaders are campaigning on these issues for political gain,” he said.
Elaborating on these issues, he said that when the state government started the Nadu-Nedu programme in Ongole on 14 November 2019, on the same day, the opposition protested the demolition of a Durga temple in Guntur district that occurred during road widening. “He mentioned another incident which happened on 15 January 2020, when the government set up a market intervention fund with Rs 3,000 crore to purchase crops by paying the Minimum Support Price to the farmers. To divert attention from this, the Opposition vandalised Anjaneya Swamy temple in Pithapuram on 21 January, he alleged.