Three pages referring to Jesus Christ and Christianity were found in a book uploaded under the ‘e-books’ category onto the TTD's official website.

Fresh row at Tirumala TTD takes down link of e-book with Christian content on itImage: Wikimedia Commons/Nikhil B
news Controversy Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - 09:48

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) witnessed yet another fresh row this week, as three pages referring to Jesus Christ and Christianity were found in a book uploaded under the ‘e-books’ category onto its official website. The TTD manages affairs of the Lord Venkateswara temple, atop Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh.

According to reports, the book called ‘Bhakti Geethamrutha Lahari’, written by Monda Chinna Seetaramayya, a retired Telugu lecturer from Rajahmundry, was published under a grant given by the TTD for religious books.

Though pages 182, 183 and 184 were supposed to be on Sai Baba, according to the book's index, the chapter actually spoke about Jesus Christ. A S Santosh, President of Legal Rights Protection Forum filed a complaint to the TTD and other government officials. The book published years ago was uploaded on the website in 2015, but this seems to have been discovered only now.

Speaking to reporters on Monday evening, TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal said that the authorities would launch an investigation and make sure that the content of each book is thoroughly verified before it is uploaded on the website. The links to various books were disabled on the website.

"We received information that there was some content related to Christianity in a book that was on our website. The book was published in 2002, and once we received the complaints, we pulled it down," he said.

He added that while books written in house by the TTD were checked throughly, only overall content is examined for private publishers. "We just check the overall content before we grant permission for private publishers, which is what may have resulted in the lapse. There may be more books with such content that we are not aware of. We have temporarily pulled down all books from private publishers, from the TTD website. We will study them and then chart our further course of acton," he added.

TTD has been witnessing several controversies ever since Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy took charge in May, with parties like the BJP latching on to his Christian identity, and accusing him of participating in Hindu rituals just for votes.

BJP and supporters also questioned the faith of TTD Chairman YV Subba Reddy, who later was forced to clarify that he is a Hindu. Last month, an advertisement for Jerusalem yatra and Haj pilgrimage on bus tickets in the temple town of Tirupati had sparked a row, compelling the state government to order a probe.

More recently this month, the police arrested three people for posting a misleading photo of a 'cross' and spreading misinformation that church-like structures were coming up in the Hindu temple town of Tirumala. Police said that the 'cross' was just a pole on top of a forest watchtower.


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