Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party and the N Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party on Saturday traded allegations over incidents of desecration of Hindu temples in the state over the last few days, the Hindustan Times reported. The TDP called out the state government for inaction, while the YSR Congress Party alleged that former was involved in the incidents.
The political row escalated after Naidu visited the Ramatirtham temple in Vizianagaram district on Saturday. Earlier this week, an idol of Ram was found desecrated there. The police reportedly stopped Naidu from visiting the temple but cleared the way after he sat on the road in protest.
Naidu spoke to the temple’s priests to ascertain what had happened. He accused Reddy of being a “betrayer of Hindus”. “Jagan [Reddy] may be a Christian,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “But thinking (that he could) use power for converting Hindus is wrong. If people in power resort to religious conversions, it amounts to betrayal.”
The former Andhra Pradesh chief minister claimed that no such incidents took place during his tenure, The Hindu reported. He accused the YSR Congress government of failing to protect temples in the state. “People who vandalised the idol and those who protect the culprits will face the wrath of the God,” he added.
YSR Congress General Secretary V Vijay Sai Reddy, on the other hand, alleged that TDP workers had desecrated the Ramatirtham temple to defame the Andhra Pradesh government, according to the Hindustan Times. Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, another YSR Congress leader, also accused Naidu of orchestrating the incidents.
Meanwhile, Vizianagaram Superintendent of Police B Raja Kumari said that five special teams have been constituted to look into the incidents. The police also announced a reward for anyone who would provide information about the accused.
There have been several incidents of Hindu temples and idols being desecrated in different parts of Andhra Pradesh. On December 22, pieces of animal flesh were found scattered at the Lord Krishna temple in Prakasam district’s Darsi town. In September, an ancient chariot at the Antarvedi Lakshmi Narasimha Temple in East Godavari district was burnt. A Nandi idol installed in a Shiva temple in Chittoor district was damaged in the same month.