Be Alert Against ‘Guerrilla Warfare’ of Temple Attacks: Andhra CM
TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu demanded a CBI inquiry into the attacks on temples.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday, 5 January, instructed officials to step up vigilance against the 'guerrilla warfare' of attacking temples to disturb religious harmony and take stern action.
Addressing police officials during a video conference with collectors and Superintendents of Police of all districts, Jagan said, "Find out who is behind the attacks and how influential they are, do not hesitate to take action against them. Make the names of the perpetrators public and deal with them sternly so that they should fear to commit such offences in future.”
The Chief Minister directed the officials to conduct in-depth investigations into the untoward incidents of idol destruction.
Jagan also alleged that some people under political influence are intentionally demolishing temples with no fear or devotion towards god. He also accused media houses affiliated to political parties of allegedly propagating these incidents, over social media as well.
"Unable to face the government directly which is gaining popularity by welfare schemes, some elements out of sheer jealousy are resorting to such attacks to defame the government," he alleged.
Andhra Pradesh has been on high alert since 3 January following a series of attacks on idols at Hindu temples by unknown miscreants. On 1 January, an idol of Lord Ram at the Ramatheertham temple of Vizianagaram district was vandalised.
In another instance, an idol of the Hindu deity Sita at the Pandit Nehru Bus Station in Vijayawada was vandalised. In another instance, an idol of Ketu was vandalised at Sivalayam at Vuyyuru in Vijayawada outskirts.
Naidu Accuses Jagan of Promoting Religious Conversions in Andhra
Meanwhile, calling for a CBI inquiry into the series of attacks on temples, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo N Chandrababu Naidu accused the Andhra Chief Minister, who is a Christian by faith, of misusing his official position to promote religious conversions in the state.
"This was a blatant violation of the Constitution. Who gave the authority to Jagan to encourage conversation and hurt religious sentiments of other religions. I believe in Lord Venkateswara, you have faith in Jesus Christ. I go to Tirumala and you visit Jerusalem and keep the Bible with you. I am not flaunting that. But attacks should not be allowed on other religions. Jagan has no right to continue as Chief Minister, even for a minute, if he fails to prevent the attacks on temples. Every individual is entitled to have his own faith and belief under the Constitution," alleged Naidu on Tuesday as quoted in The New Indian Express.
Earlier the Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) D Gautam Sawang said that in 2020, around 228 cases of attacks on temples were registered in the state. About 305 cases were booked in 2019, the year the YSRCP government came to power in AP.
During the tenure of the TDP government, about 267 cases of temple attacks were registered in 2018, 318 cases in 2017, 332 cases in 2016 and 290 cases were booked in 2015, as per data released by the DGP.
According to the Chief Minister, as many as 36,000 CCTV cameras have been installed in temples across the state. Most instances of temple attacks were reported from remote areas and carried out during late hours in the night.
Jagan alleged that these acts of vandalism are occurring in private temples owned by political leaders.
(This story was first published in The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
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