A commotion broke out when the sermon was broadcast at the temple and stones were pelted at the LED screens by some people present at the temple.

Sermon being telecast at Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada during DasaraTwitter/somuveerraju
news Controversy Saturday, October 09, 2021 - 16:13

Following yet another controversy over allegations and fearmongering of propagation of Christianity in Andhra Pradesh, the Vijayawada police have booked a local television channel for broadcasting Christian sermon videos amid Dasara festivities at the Kanaka Durga temple. As celebrations for the nine-day festival began on Thursday, October 7 with thousands of visitors in attendance, a commotion broke out when a live telecast of the programs at the temple premises was interrupted to broadcast a video of a Christian sermon. Upset by this, a few persons at the temple reportedly pelted stones at the LED screens, destroying them. 

On Thursday night, amid Dasara festivities around 8 pm, the broadcast was briefly interrupted to air a video related to Philadelphia Church in Vijayawada. This caused unrest, and after devotees complained to temple authorities, the broadcast was halted. The incident has triggered outrage, with news reports claiming that it was the state Information and Public Relations (I&PR) department that hired ‘C Channel’, which was responsible for the live telecast, and demands arising that action be taken against officials of the department. 

Later on Thursday night, a complaint was registered at One Town police station against C Channel, as well as the organisation hired to set up the LED screens, Keerti Tiranga Creations of Nizamabad. A case was registered under Section 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs) of the IPC (Indian Penal Code). Police said that investigation is ongoing to find the persons responsible for the goof-up, and meanwhile, broadcast vans belonging to the channel have been seized.  

D Bhramaramba, Executive Officer of the Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanam or the Kanaka Durga temple, said in a press statement that C Channel had come forward to do the live telecast of the rituals and other events during Dasara free of cost. She said that the temple authorities had given them the responsibility directly, and the I&PR department had no role in it. Only LED screen providers had been hired after consulting the I&PR department, as the organisation had government recognition and was providing services below government rates, the EO said. 

The incident is the latest in a series of controversies where the opposition parties including BJP, Jana Sena Party and even the TDP have made unsubstantiated claims that there was a spate of forced religious conversions in the state under Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who himself is Christian. State BJP chief Somu Veerraju even commended the devotees who pelted stones at the screens broadcasting the sermon. “For the first time, Hindus in the state have awakened, destroyed the screens by pelting stones, and protected Hindu dharma from the state government,” he tweeted.  

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