Andhra Pradesh Endowments Minister Velampalli Srinivasa Rao on Monday suspected if a possible conspiracy was involved in the fire accident at the Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Antarvedi, where a wooden chariot was gutted in the early hours of Sunday. "Looking at things...we have a suspicion that it might be a conspiracy by opposition parties to bring a bad name to the government. A malicious propaganda is also being run on social media platforms. There are political conspiracies against this government that something is happening to Hindus," the Minister told reporters.
He asked Hindu devotees to be wary of such propaganda and not to get carried away by it.
He said the Executive Officer of Antarvedi temple has been transferred while a staff member in charge of monitoring the closed-circuit television cameras was placed under suspension after the fire. "We have asked the police to investigate the incident thoroughly as a similar incident happened a few months ago in a temple in SPS Nellore district as well, where a chariot was burnt. We have also asked the Endowments authorities to build the two chariots by March next year," Srinivasa Rao said. CCTV cameras would be installed in all temples to prevent such incidents, he added.
"Generally, the temple chariots are 40-50 feet high and they are parked outside the temple premises. Some are secured, others not and there is actually no electronic surveillance on them. We have now asked officials to take necessary action to step up surveillance," the Minister said.
The exact cause of the fire that gutted the 60-year-old and 40-feet high wooden chariot used during the â€˜rathotsavamâ€™ at the wedding festivities of Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy at the historic Antarvedi temple is yet to be established. Fire Services personnel and forensics experts are engaged in determining the cause of the fire.