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Andhra Pradesh: Shri Ram idol at Ramateertham temple found ‘beheaded’, opposition attacks Jagan Reddy govt

In another case of temple vandalization in Andhra Pradesh, the miscreants targeted the famous Ramatheertham in Vizianagaram district and desecrated 400-year-old idol of Bhagwan Ram. In the past year, several such incidents have happened in the state. The opposition is blaming the Jaganmohan Reddy government for inaction against the miscreants in the past for repeated attacks on temples.

The incident

As per the reports, when the priest reached the temple on Tuesday morning, he found that the doors of the ancient Sita Lakshmana Kodandarama temple on the Bodikonda hillock in Ramatheertham were broken. When he entered the sanctum, he found the desecrated idol of Bhagwan Ram. The idol of the Lord was beheaded. The authorities at the temple immediately informed the police about the incident.

Since the incident, several portions of the idol have been retrieved from the nearby temple pond. Vizianagaram district police are investigating the case, forming five special teams. Raja Kumari, SP, Vizianagaram said in a statement that they are investigating the case, but no arrests have been made so far. He said, “We are probing from all angles to know if this is an act of treasure hunters or involves communal angle or a miscreant act. We have not made any arrests so far.”

The opposition blames Jaganmohan Reddy government for the increasing incidents

The latest Temple vandalism case is being seen as a failure of CM Jaganmohan Reddy to maintain law and order in the state and the failure of the state administration in bringing culprits of previous cases of temple attacks to justice. TDP, BJP and Janasena have blamed Reddy government for the increase in such attacks.

Sunil Deodhar, the National Secretary of BJP and co-in charge of Andhra Pradesh compared the incident to Taliban’s destruction of giant Buddha statues in Bamiyan. He said, “Repeat attacks on Hindu temples in Andhra Pradesh are reminiscent of actions of 16th century ruthless St. Xavier in Goa who destroyed temples & carried out forced conversions & Taliban’s destruction of giant Buddha statues in Bamiyan.”

On Tuesday night, Bharatiya Janata Party workers staged a protest at the temple. Somu Veerraju, Andhra Pradesh BJP chief has demanded stern action against the culprits.

Former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu said, “The destruction of Ram idol at the four centuries old Ramatheertham temple is resultant of the negligence of the ruling party.” Naidu said that for unknown reasons the CM is just watching the attacks as a silent spectator.

“In the last 19 months, over 120 attacks took place on temples. These attacks were going on as per a premeditated plan. Over 23 idols were demolished in six temples at Pithapuram. Durga temple was brought down in Guntur,” he said.

Pawan Kalyan, Janasena Party chief, said, “At a time when the construction of Ram mandir is going on at Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya, the idol of Lord Ram is destroyed in our state. Separating the head of the idol cannot be an act of an insane person. It is an act of some religious maniacs.” Kalyan has urged Union Home Ministry to look into the matter and demanded CBI probe covering all attacks on the temples in the state. He added, “Why is the CM not responding to the spate of onslaughts on Hindu temples? He may have faith in any religion, but he should respect the sentiments of other religions.”

Past incidents of temple attacks in Andhra Pradesh

In February, a 50 feet tall ancient chariot of Prasanna Venkateswara Swamy temple at Bhogolu village of Bitragunta Mandal in Nellore district was set on fire. Several Hindu god and goddess idols and flex banners in Pithapuram city in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh were desecrated by unknown miscreants in January this year. In September, a similar incident took place in Antarvedi where the six-decade-old, 40 feet high wooden ratham of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha went up in flames. Amidst public pressure, the case was handed over to CBI by the state government.

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