High alert in Andhra Pradesh as two more temples vandalised in state

DGP D Gautam Sawang informed that in 2020, around 228 cases of attacks on temples were registered in Andhra Pradesh.
DGP Gautam Sawang
DGP Gautam Sawang
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Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) D Gautam Sawang has sounded an alert across the state following a series of attacks on idols at Hindu temples by unknown miscreants. The alert comes even as another two instances of temple idols being attacked were reported on Sunday from Vijayawada. 

In one instance, an idol of the Hindu deity Sita at Pandit Nehru Bus Station was allegedly vandalised. In another instance, an idol of Ketu was vandalised at Sivalayam at Vuyyuru in Vijayawada outskirts, reported Times of India.  

The clay idol of Sita was found broken in the morning by a priest, curiously the temple door remained locked. The priest then informed officials with the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) who duly informed the police at the Krishna Lanka police station. 

The Commissioner of Police Bathini Srinivasulu told The New Indian Express that a special team has been formed to examine the CCTV footage to identify the miscreants. The temple police have booked cases under sections 448, 427, 295 and 153 (a) if the IPC against unknown persons. A large number of people associated with the TDP, BJP and VHP gathered at the bus station and protested against the vandalisation of the idol. 

The attack comes after the vandalism of a Lord Ram at Ramatheertham temple was reported on January 1.

After the latest attack, the State DGP Sawang directed DIGs, Commissioners, Superintendents of Police, Deputy SPs and the Station House Officers (SHOs) to step up vigil at temples, reported The Hindu. 

Patrolling by police will be stepped up to monitor the movement of strangers at shrines. Police will also arrange CCTV cameras at all places of worship immediately, stated the DGP on Sunday. 

The state’s DGP said that “miscreants are trying to disturb the peace and create a law and order problem in Andhra Pradesh.” The officer assured that the police are making efforts to identify those who are attacking temples and damaging idols.

The DGP informed that in 2020, about 228 cases of attacks on temples were registered in Andhra Pradesh, compared to 305 cases in 2019, 267 in 2018, 318 in 2017, 332 in 2016 and 290 in 2015. 

The DGP urged community leaders, members of Grama Rakshaka Dalams, temple trust board managements and families that have taken care of small shrines to cooperate with the police. The DGP requested the locals to dial 100 if any suspicious persons were found moving in villages. 

Sawang said that the police have so far mapped 2,600 temples across the state and have issued temple managements with notices requesting them to install CCTVs.  

The Andhra Police have bound over about 8,250 persons with a history of committing similar offences in the past six years. The DGP also urged the public to not be swayed by rumours and help maintain law and order.


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