Staff Reporter

Man beaten on charge of spreading non-Hindu religion

Devotees, party activists assault himHand him over to the policeDistribution of religious books, leaflets alleged

VISAKHAPATNAM: Tension gripped Simhachalam -- the abode of Lord Varahalakshmi Nrusimha Swamy -- following beating up of a person for allegedly spreading a non-Hindu religion in the holy place on Saturday.

Activists of Bharatiya Janata Party, Viswa Hindu Parishad and Archaka Sangham, who were upset by the stoic silence of the temple authorities against propagation of a non-Hindu religion at Simhachalam in violation of the tradition, organised separate sit-in protest.

The archakas staged a `rasta roko' for two hours obstructing traffic.

Following tension in the holy town, police set up special pickets.

`Propaganda'

VHP district president O. Neelakantham said the propaganda was going on for past two months.

Though they brought it to the notice of Simhachalam Devasthanam Executive Officer V. Shankar Reddy, no action was taken to prevent hurting of sentiments of the Hindu devotees.

After beating up the person who was distributing leaflets and books of a particular religion, the devotees and other activists handed him over to the Gopalapatnam police station.

They also submitted a written complaint to Mr. Shankar Reddy.

Swami Swaroopanandendra Saraswathi of Sarada Peetham, who led the protest, alleged that as per the temple tradition, no other religion should indulge in propagation of their beliefs at Simhachalam as it was a sacred place for Hindu religion.

Suspension demanded

BJP leader Kasi Viswanadha Raju said the temple authorities did not take any initiative despite their pleas.

He said the authorities should suspend an employee who had been extending support to the person, who was beaten up, for distributing literature of a non-Hindu religion.

Among others, Archaka Sangham State secretary V. Suryanarayana, general secretary Srinivasa Dikshitulu, members Koteswara Sarma, Rama Sastry and Andukuri Sivaji, Vaishnava Mahajana Sabha former president Satyanarayanacharyulu, BJP district vice-president K. Satyanarayana and Simhachalam town president D. Kanakaraju, were present.