Andhra Pradesh

Official rebuffs BJP allegation that Muslims were conducting commercial activity on temple premises

Bhramarambha Malliakrjuna Swamy Devasthanam executive officer Karanam S. Ram Rao inspecting some copperplates found at Ganta Matham at Srisialm on July 27, 2021.   | Photo Credit: U. SUBRAMANYAM

Bhramarambha Mallikarjuna Swamy Devasthanam executive officer (EO) Karanam S. Rama Rao rebuffed allegations levelled by BJP State president Somu Veerraju on the Endowments Department and officials managing the temple affairs that two people from the Muslim community were conducting commercial activity on temple premises. Mr. Rao said the matter was in the Supreme Court.

“According to section 13 of the A.P. Endowments Act, only those from the Hindu religion can conduct activities on the temple premises. Two people — Razak and Rafi — who had lease agreements for shops on the premises were served notices to end the lease. They approached the A.P. High Court seeking continuation. The court rejected their plea early last year,” the E.O. said.

“Following the HC order, we served notices on them and sought back possession to the temple management. But they approached the Supreme Court. It has been adjourned after one hearing. The Endowments Department is only following the law in letter and spirit and is in no way compromising the rights of the Hindus,” Mr. Rao told The Hindu.

The allegations that Muslims were removing the Siva Lingas from Ganta Matham was false, he said. Mr. Razak was present there as a contractor much before he took over as the EO, overseeing some renovation work that started in 2017.

“There was no puja performed on any deity or Siva Linga at the Ganta Matham. Some treasure hunters used to remove them or since they were very old, the sadhus (saints) used to get the repairs done as per their convenience. Now we have taken up the restoration work and are following all norms and preserving whatever was found there,” he observed.

“Auctions for the new shopping complex were held. But after some locals approached the A.P. High Court, the court asked the temple authorities to hold the auction and submit records to them. The court said it would take the final decision. Hence, in no way is the Endowments Department stopping Hindus from getting the new shops,” he clarified.

Regarding the houses in the temple complex, the EO said, “during Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao’s time, some people were given house site pattas in a 25-acrea area called Kothapeta, close to the temple. A majority of those who have settled in this area, for the past 30-40 years, are from other religions. And, many sites were under encroachment.”

Housing Minister Cherukuvada Sriranganadha Raju, who visited Srisailam on July 26, promised houses to those given pattas in Sundipenta.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 8:45:29 PM |

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