YSR Congress Party supremo and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and his government are increasingly facing the heat of opposition parties in the state and also social organisations for the heightened attacks on Hindu temples, which many are attributing to Jagan himself, who has created a peculiar atmosphere in the state by giving Christian evangelical and missionary organisations a free run, which is, in turn, enabling them to trample over, assault and desecrate Hindu places of worship, while also indulging in the large-scale conversion of people in Andhra Pradesh.
The Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government has been under heavy fire ever since the mysterious burning of the 62-year old chariot of the famous Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Antarvedi in East Godavari district early this month.
The YSRCP government has, as a result, announced that it will make the same chariot at the cost of Rs one crore approximately before February 2021. The old wooden chariot, which was burnt was nearly 60 years old, was made of teak wood and was used in every main festival of the temple.
One would have expected that after massive furor over the chariot-burning, attacks on Hindu temples in Andhra Pradesh will be brought down by the government, however, a series of attacks on various temples this month has raised alarm among social and political quarters, as to what forces are at play behind such cultural destruction of Indian ethos in Andhra Pradesh.
After the chariot-burning incident, an idol was vandalised at the Sai Baba temple in Nidamanuru village, Krishna district, which was then followed by theft in Vijayawada’s Kanaka Durga temple, where “three silver lions of sacred Radha” went mysteriously missing. Now, reports are emerging that another temple has been attacked in the state today, with a nandi idol getting vandalised.
On Wednesday, Jagan had birthed another controversy with his visit to the Tirumala Tirupati temple, where opposition leaders have always demanded that he mandatorily be made to sign the faith form, declaring that the Chief Minister, a devout Christian himself, reposes faith in the deity – Lord Venkateshwara. Opposition parties like TDP and BJP said that he should have gone with his family and presented silk garments at the Brahmotsavams, as per tradition.
The controversy dates back to 2012 when Jagan Mohan Reddy had refused to sign the faith form declaring his faith in the deity at Tirumala temple. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) had, as a consequence, banned the entry of all non-Hindus into the temple, if they do not declare their faith in Lord Venkateshwara via the faith form.
The opposition in Andhra Pradesh, comprising of parties like TDP, BJP, Jana Sena Party of Pawan Kalyan, and a slew of social organisations like the RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad among others have locked horns with the ruling YSRCP government, demanding that the rights of Hindus, along with their temples be protected. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is a devout Christian, is often accused of being overly sympathetic in his approach to Christian organisations seeking to alter the demography of Andhra Pradesh while turning a blind eye to the state’s Hindus.
As a matter of fact, conversion activities in the state are ongoing without any hindrance, and whatever little opposition evangelicals are being met with is from Hindu organisations. However, since the government seems to be providing tacit support to Christian missionary organisations, the Hindus of the state have come under imminent threat, with attacks on their religious places now increasing.