ANDHRA PRADESH

Clash on temple premises

VISAKHAPATNAM: Supporters of Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti and staff of Simhachalam Devasthanam clashed with each other on Monday morning. A man said to be supporter of the samiti was taken into custody later.

The Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti supporters, led by its president Kamala Kumar, reached the temple by climbing the steps and when they were about to enter the temple, Executive Officer Prem Kumar had allegedly stopped them near the parking place and wanted them not to carry the flags inside and not to raise slogans when they were on the temple premises. The reason for the clash was not known but the argument between the EO and the supporters of the samiti turned into a clash, as both sides allegedly exchanged blows and beat each other with sticks. The samiti wanted the EO to explain why salaries were not being paid to some staff members and some priests. The EO had initially turned down the demand and asked the members to have a darshan first. Soon after the clash, supporters of the samiti dispersed and Mr. Kamala Kumar, who went inside to have a darshan, was stopped by the temple staff. Mr. Kamala Kumar said the people who came along with him to the temple were different from those who attended a meeting at the foothill earlier.

Mr. Prem Kumar said that it was a conspiracy hatched by some real estate businessmen and a priest of the temple because very recently the Devasthanam had retrieved land worth several crores of rupees.

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