NATIONAL

Media-TTD standoff sorted out

TIRUPATI Nov. 24. The standoff between the TTD management and mediapersons based at Tirupati and Tirumala, over the ban on entry of the latter into the Tirumala temple during the visits of the VVIPs ended today, following an assurance by the TTD top-brass that the status quo ante would be restored. A consensus to this effect was reached at the resumed negotiations.

As the talks got deadlocked yesterday, mediapersons held a demonstration in front of the TTD Trust Board building at Tirumala even as the board members and senior TTD officials were closeted inside.

A security-related freak incident inside the sanctum sanctorum yesterday came in handy for the TTD to argue its case for more stringent entry regulations. A TTD employee, said to be mentally deranged, had made an abortive bid to explode a high decibel crude cracker. He was however overpowered by temple staff and handed over to the local police.

The TTD top-brass cited the incident to push the entry ban during the negotiations today, while the media representatives insisted that a freak incident cannot be used to keep out mediapersons covering VVIP visits.

The TTD management has finally agreed in principle to continue to permit mediapersons into the shrine up to the `Dhwajasthambham' point. But the TTD has imposed some restrictions on the number of mediapersons to be allowed, their bonafides, etc. The board has authorised the TTD's Executive Officer, P. Krishnaiah, to shortly convene a meeting with media representatives, police and TTD vigilance officials to discuss the issue and come out with a mutually-acceptable solution.

Among the leaders who took part in the talks today were the local TDP MLA, Ch. Krishnamurthy, B. Karunakar Reddy (Cong) and K. Murali (CPI-M).