Thursday, January 28th, 2021 14:55:34

Temples under attack in andhra Pradesh

By Dr. Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao
Updated: January 12, 2021 2:38 pm

During the medieval period the marauding Muslim invaders destroyed the temples, desecrated the idols, disfigured the sculpture, burnt the temple properties and occupied the sacred Hindu places. For those who think that is history and there is no repetition of such bigotry attacks on the Hindu temples a visit to Andhra Pradesh is a must. Yes, here in the 21st century the things which occurred during the Portuguese occupation of Goa are happening in Andhra Pradesh. Those groups which champion secular values, who cry hoarse even at the slightest attack on the minority community member or their religious places are surprisingly silent in what is happening in Andhra Pradesh.

Ever since a government headed by a Christian Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohana Reddy was formed in May 2019 and a home ministry was purposefully allocated to a woman, whose fake SC certificate is under investigation as she is a practicing Christian, the attacks on the Hindu temples started with a missionary zeal. The threat to Hindu temples is real and multi-dimensional. No temple including the world-famous Tirumala Tirupati Temple is spared for this missionary driven attack on the sanctity of temples and core beliefs of Hinduism. As such attacks on temples are not properly investigated by the police, none was arrested for those crimes and home ministry maintains a stunning silence, and the CM never issues word of condemnation the perception is that these attacks on temples are planned and have the indirect blessings of the YS Jagan administrations. The statements of some of the cabinet colleagues including the minister who is heading the Endowment department confirms the complicity of the government.  Or else so many attacks wouldn’t have happened in so short a time 20 months regime of Y.S. Jagan.

The year 2020 saw unbridled attacks on the temples in Andhra Pradesh. The attacks were multi-dimensional in the sense the temple properties are treated as government properties, temple traditions ignored, non-Hindu staff are appointed in the temples. The year started with the disfiguring the idols using hammer in Sakthi Peetham town Pithapuram.  Desecration of the idols happened in sri Venugopala Swamy temple in February. Srisailam, the jyotirlinga kshetra witnessed the digging of ancient Siva Linga and looting the precious stoned underneath that Linga. Tragedy is that act of digging Linga happened with the connivance of local ruling party MLA.

The mysterious midnight burning of temple chariots occurred in two ancient temples, one in Nellore district and the other in East Godavari district. Both temples are ancient and chariots are equally old. Curiously the silver lions’ from Kanaka Durga temple chariot located few meters away from the residence of Endowment minister in Vijayawada. The police threw blame of burning of chariots or stealing of valuables from the temples on some unknown insane person.

The curious thing that came to light is a set pattern in all such attacks on temples and their properties. The CCTV cameras goes out of function few days before the day the temples properties are attacked. Instead of going into that pattern in failure of the security aspect of the endowment minister Mr. Velampalli Srinivasa Rao makes a casual statement saying “since temple chariots and other properties are insured and can be replaced easily” ignoring the antiquity, sentiment and sanctity Hindus have to the age-old temple chariots. Another minister holding the civil supplies department justified the attacks on temples by saying “So what if idols went missing? The deity will not be affected even if the idols are vandalized”. Those statements of ministers and coupled with the stunning silence of CM YS Jagan summarizes the attitude of this Andhra Pradesh government towards the Hindu religion. a burning the temple properties such as temple chariots and then diverting the endowment funds for non-dharmic activities. In total it is Hinduism under direct attack from unidentified groups and individuals. The silence of the government on these attacks baffles the Hindus of the state. The most unfortunate thing is the ‘take it easy’ attitude of the endowment and police officials and Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s silence on all such attacks. What hurts more is the casual way of some of the ministers are making statements against the protesting Hindu groups. The Andhra Pradesh government attitude confirms its ‘no respect for Hindu sentiment’ attitude. The media advisor to CM, Amar Devulapalli conceded that “these attacks are organized but organized to defame the incumbent YS Jagan government”.

The year-end saw attack on the Rama Temple located on a hillock in Vizianagaram district where the head of Kodanda Rama idol was broken and broken head was carried away. The temple doors were broken and no gold or silver ornaments were touched. The attack was aimed at Rama idol. The motive is yet to be established by the police though the broken head of Rama idol was found in the tank within the hillock of the temple. No one was nabbed so far in this case.

Barring some instant statements of taking action on the culprits and preventing repetition of such actions on the temples there is no clear-cut action from the police side. No proper investigation was done and none was arrested in all those dozen cases. Why this negligent attitude of the police and endowment officials in those cases.

Not even Tirumala Tirupati Lord Venkateswar temple is safe under the dispensation of this government. Even when Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, father of the present CM Jagan, headed Congress government was ruling undivided Andhra Pradesh an attempt was made to divest three hills of Tirumala and restrict the sanctity of Temple for four hills. During that Congress regime the Temple lands were occupied by Muslim groups to build their Islamic University and there was no relief for the Hindu pleas on that. The present government of Andhra Pradesh is headed by Y.S. Jagan Mohana Reddy, a confirmed Christian and the threat to temples increased many folds.

Tirumala Tirupati seems to have been specifically targeted by Jagan regime. The very appointments to the TTD board are questionable. Those professing Christian faiths are given posting on the temple boards both in Tirumala and other temples. Despite court directives of not employing non-Hindus in the endowment department the Christians are given jobs in temples. Those non-believers are behaving in the temple in objectionable manner hurting the Hindu pilgrims.

The Srisailam, one of the Jyotirlinga kshetra is name sake under endowment department. In fact, it is controlled by a Muslim follower of local ruling party MLA. There is a photographic evidence showing Mr. Razaq supervising the digging of Maha linga in this Saiva kshetra. It is this YCP follower who is accused of stealing and transporting the cows from the gaushala of Devasthanam. But so far, no action was initiated by the government despite all the evidences shown. The same Muslim reportedly controls all the commercial shop built by the endowment department and allotted those shops to Muslim businessman.

Jagan has devised a grand plan to grab the lands under the control of Simhachalam a temple of Narasimha near Visakhapatnam. That temple has huge landed property located in three districts. That property is now eyed by Jagan to distribute among his followers, mostly Christians, under some scheme or the other in the name of social security benefits. Though there are landed properties for both Muslim and Christian organizations they are left untouched there by exposing the biased view of Jagan. It is believed that Jagan is bent on destroying the Hindu base in Andhra Pradesh and establish a Christian dominance through a government funded projects.

The state BJP President Mr. Somu Veerraju statement that “Ever since YS Jagan came to power, there have been attacks on various temples causing a lot of anguish” summarizes the feelings of Andhras.

Earlier we called Jagan Tughlaq, because of his pet project of Andhra Pradesh capital shifting from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam. Now with the way temples are attacked and temples are destroyed under his administration we may have to call Jagan Aurangzeb of 21st century.

By Dr. Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao

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