Without even serving notices to temple managements, about 30 Hindu temples, five of them fairly big temples, were razed to ground
N Nagaraja Rao
The State Government of Andhra Pradesh has embarked on a mission to expand roads leading to Pushkar Ghats in Vijayawada. Without batting an eye lid and not even serving notices to temple managements, they went on demolition spree at midnight. About 30 Hindu temples were razed to ground. Devotees were horrified to witness these events and brazen highhandedness of the officials who dumped the idols thus removed into Municipal Vans usually ferried to lift garbage to other locations. This crisis was indeed manmade and is now snowballing into a major political war leading to Hindu seers and devotees coming on streets to protest against Anti- Hindu Act.
The list of 30 temples demolished includes the oldest Seethammavari Padalu, Rahu-Ketu temple, Vinayaka temple on the river belt of Krishna, Sai Baba temple, Swayambhoo Ammavari temple at Bhavanipuram, decades old Gosala at Arjuna street among others. Surprisingly Seethammavari Padalu, Saneeswara Swamy and Dakshina Mukha Anjaneya Swamy temples are prominent places of worship in Vijayawada. The manner in which these temples were razed to the ground hurt the sentiments of the devout and drew a very sharp reaction from the seers. On this issue Endowments Minister Manikyala Rao of BJP spoke to Organiser, “The proposed demolition of temples should have been duly notified and discussed with the temple trusts. But officials acted in haste. He is keen to take up the matter with the Chief Minister. A Bandh call was given that evoked a good response and Hindu Peetadipathis threatened not to cooperate during the religious part of Pushkaram unless Chandrababu Naidu apologises.
“Naidu is behaving like Aurangzeb,’’ fumed Sri Sri Sri Swaroopanandendra Saraswathi Maha Swamy of the Visakha Sri Sarada Peetham. “He is trying to woo the minority votes by insulting Hindus. God will teach such arrogance a lesson,” he added. Media incharge of BJP in Vijayawada said that the Executive Officer was transferred who stood up against brazen arrogance. The appeal by the temple priests that they would move the main idols in accordance with the Sastras was dismissed with contempt. The demolition process was being conducted in the supervision of local Vijayawada MP Kesineni Nani and District Collector Ahmed Babu. Appeasing the minority has been the hall mark of this government and open threats are being made insulting Hindu religious heads by legislators of the ruling Telugu Desam Party, he added.
Sensing the combat mood of the Hindu devotees and Seers, the government constituted a committee consisting of five Ministers which promptly announced that all the demolished temples would be re-built. The committee also resolved not to disturb any other temple even by an inch. The committee decided to rebuild those temples at their original locations in such a way that movement of traffic is not obstructed.
Protests by seers and delegation of seers that met the government officials led to intervention of Chief Minister who is believed to have admitted the bureaucratic bungle and promised to recontruct. But the seers are not amused by this offer to reconstruct the temples. “This is not a shopping complex that you can demolish and rebuild,” said a Seer.
Islamic literary sources provide far more extensive evidence of temple destruction by the Muslim invaders of India in medieval times. This vast area of Krisha and Guntur districts, which was long the cradle of Hindu culture, came to be littered with the ruins of temples and monasteries, belonging to all schools of Santana Dharma – Baudhha, Jaina, Shaiva, Sakta, Vaishnava, and the rest. Are we re-visting the same with ever appeasing Hindu rulers at the helm?