Houston Hindus object to church on holy hill
By Lalit K. Jha
Opposing the construction of a church at the sacred Tirumala Hills, as many as 23 Indo-American organisations based in Houston has urged the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to ask the Andhra Pradesh government to maintain the sanctity of the religious place, which is a holy shrine for the Hindus world over.
Agitated by media reports emanating from India that the Andhra Pradesh government was actively considering the application of a religious society to build a church atop the Tirumala Hills, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, these Indo-American organisations held an emergency meeting at Houston on July 16 to discuss the issue.
Even though the news has been denied by the Andhra Pradesh government that no such thing would be allowed at the Tirumala Hills, the Indo-American, mostly Hindu organisations, at the meeting decided to send a representative to Washington D.C. to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister during his recent visit.
Another representative of these Houston-based Hindu organisations would be flying to Hyderabad on July 19 to meet the Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, to apprise him of the sentiments of the community in the United States.
?We are all agitated and upset following the series of news regarding the Tirumala Hills, which is coming from Andhra Pradesh. We want to make sure that such a anti-Hindu thing does not happen,? said Geetha Donthi of Prajna-JET USA, which is one of the signatories to the memorandum.
Donthi would meet Reddy in Hyderabad on behalf of these 23 organisations including Gujarati Samaj of Houston, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Chinamaya Mission, Arya Samaj, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Hindu Worship Society, Kerala Hindu Society, Shri Radha Krishna Temple, Ashtal Lakshmi Temple, Hindu Student Council, Vallabh Priti Samaj, Esha Vasyam, Param Shakti Peet, Indian Senior Citizens Association, India House, Bhakta Samaj, Friends and Family of Houston, Santhan Hindu Center, LPSH, Houston, Bhram Samaj, Houston Natya Kala Vrund and Center for Global Studies.
?It shocks the conscience of the Hindu-American community of Houston that the Government of India can so cavalierly demolish a structure with a history of 550 years, as if it were yesterday'snewspaper being tossed into the rubbish bin,? said the petition signed by these organisations on July 16, which would be submitted to both the Prime Minister and the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister.