Chief Minister K. Rosaiah has asked Endowments Minister Gade Venkata Reddy to resolve the feud between the head priest of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, A. V. R. Deekshitulu and Joint Executive Officer (JEO), A. V. Dharma Reddy.

The Minister has been directed to look into the exchange of charges between the ‘pradhana archakas' and the officer and ensure that they do not repeat it. When contacted, I. Y. R. Krishna Rao, executive officer, TTD, refused to make any comments on the row.

Sources said the dispute surfaced recently when the JEO, on complaints over absenteeism by ‘archakas', issued guidelines to ensure their regular attendance in the sanctum sanctorum on shifts. He is stated to have sought an explanation from ‘pradhana archakas' on why they were absent at the ‘pattabhishekam' celebrations of ‘Pedda Jeeyar' on April 1, organised by the TTD.

A list furnished by the TTD to the government on the attendance of the existing three ‘pradhana archakas' and 38 ‘archakas' indicated absenteeism on the part of the three sons of Mr. Deekshithulu— A. Venkatapathy, A. Ramachandra and A. Venkata Perumal, during October 2008 to May 2010. Those supporting Mr. Deekshithulu sparked off a controversy saying the TTD, by introducing shift duties for ‘archakas', were treating them like barbers. On the other hand the ‘archakas' alleged that Mr. Dharma Reddy was inciting caste strife in the hills.

Responding, Mr. Dharma Reddy said that he would file a defamation case against the ‘archakas' who made this charge. A group of ‘archakas' are seeking to make the JEO a respondent in a case filed in a court. The case relates to irregularities unearthed in the sale of ‘arjitha seva tickets' involving an employee working in the JEO's office.

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