Four Christians were taken into custody in the Temple Town of Srisailam in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh for “actively propagating Christianity” in contravention of existing laws. They were booked under Section 3 of the Andhra Pradesh Propagation of Other Religions in Places of Worship or Prayer (Prohibition) Act, 2007 (Act 24 of 2007). The Act provides for three years of imprisonment or Rs. 5000 penalty or both.
The accused have been identified as M Timothi, a native of Vuyyur in Krishna district, Praveen, a native of Amrabad in Mahabubnagar district of Telangana State and M Jashuva and M Peter of Sunnipenta in Kurnool district. They allegedly performed the prayers on Friday but the matter came to light on Saturday. They were taken into custody by the Police based on the complaints filed by the locals.
The accused were found holding bibles and conspicuously reading out passages at Rudra Park in Srisailam on Friday. They were produced before the Nandyal court, which has remanded them to judicial custody. Of them, Peter was held under the same Act for a similar offence in 2018. That case against him is pending in court, Atmakur DSP Venkatrao said.
Earlier also allegations of non-Hindu activities in the temple town had emerged. In September this year, a vehicle reportedly canvassing Christianity was found by Hindu devotees. The vehicle had flex banners across the bonnet containing text from the Bible.
Local priests say that the entire hill town is part of the sanctum sanctorum and is sacred, and people from other religions are not allowed to propagate their faith in the area. Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga Temple is located in the town and is one of the holy pilgrimage site for Saivism and Shaktism sects of Hinduism. The Srisailam town is classified as both Jyotirlinga and Shakti Peetha.
Earlier, it was reported that experts have expressed their concerns regarding the spree of freebies doled out to the Christian communities by the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led Andhra Pradesh government. The freebies are not only causing a loss of public money, but these appeasement schemes are also aimed at encouraging ordinary Andhra citizens to convert.