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Jesus Christ’s photo inside Hindu temple goes viral claiming police SP had ‘pressurized’ priest to put it there, temple priest and police deny allegations

After the message went viral on social media, Karnataka Police issued a statement denying the allegations, saying the photo was gifted to the Christian SP by the temple priest

An image has gone viral on social media claiming that the newly appointed Superintendent of Police of Chamarajanagar district in Karnataka allegedly forced the priests of a local Hindu temple to place the photo of Jesus and Mary inside the Garbhagriha or the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

According to a report, on August 5, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other Hindu groups had reportedly organised a special pooja at the local Anjaneya Swamy temple in Chamarajanagar to celebrate the historic event of Ayodhya Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan. After the pooja, the police officer Divya Sara Thomas, the SP of the district visited the temple, pressurised the priest of the temple and made him place the photo of Jesus and Mary which she was carrying, in front of the temple idol inside the sanctum of the temple, as claimed by social media users.

It has been claimed that the priest succumbed to the pressure exerted by the officer and placed the photo inside the Garbhagriha of the temple while performing the pooja. The pictures of the same have become viral on the internet.

Following the incident, several Hindus have demanded action against the police officer and has also called for the sacking of the officer.

Read- Has social service become a way of Conversion for the Missionary mafia?

Temple priest clarifies

Meanwhile, the temple priest has denied that he was forced to place the photo inside the Garbhagriha. The Priest clarified that it is the custom of the temple to offer guests the Hindu idols after puja. But as the SP was Christian, they decided to gift her a photo of Jesus Christ instead. He also apologised for the incident and said that they did not have any evil intentions to hurt any religious sentiments by placing the photo of Jesus Christ inside the Garbhagriha of the temple.

“On August, on the occasion of Ayodhya Bhoomi Pujan event, there was a special pooja. We performed pooja by placing photos of a different faith. There is no evil intentions or any attempt to hurt any religious sentiments. It is a routine activity, where we pray for people irrespective of their identity,” said the temple priest.

Police deny the allegations

After the message went viral on social media, Karnataka Police issued a statement denying the allegations. They have informed that the SP was not carrying any photograph while visiting the temple, and the photo of Jesus was actually given to her by the priest after the rituals, along with photos of Hindu deities.

The statement says, “the devotees of Veeranjaneya Temple Kollegal town requested the SP to visit the temple. The temple is frequently visited by devotees of different faith. On realizing that the new SP is from a different faith the priest after completing the puja rituals gifted her a photo of Jesus Christ along with photos of Hindu deities also. The SP has not forced the priest or the devotees to offer archana for Jesus Christ nor did she carry any photos on her person to the temple. The photos of the incident has been misinterpreted and is being circulated in social media with incorrect information. The priest of the temple also has issued a clarification in this regard through a video.”

IPS officer Divya Sara Thomas has also denied the charges that she forced the priest to put the photo inside the temple. Speaking to India Today, she said, “On August 5, I was on rounds in Kollegal Taluk for flood-related arrangements and that’s when the locals invited me to the temple. But the social media posts that came later are very unfortunate and disheartening. Till now I have never thought of myself as a minority or Christian and I have done my work with utmost sincerity and dedication. As a public servant, we are ready to take bouquets and brickbats with equal vigour. Will continue to work with the same level of enthusiasm.”

Both the Karnataka police statement and the SP are silent over the issue of placing the photo of Jesus Christ inside the Garbhagriha of the temple.

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