Kanaka Durga temple row: No tantric puja held, fact-finding committee hints
A fact-finding committee that was formed by the Andhra Pradesh government to look into an alleged 'tantric puja' conducted at the Kanaka Durga Temple in Vijayawada, is all set to submit its report.
This comes days after the Executive Officer (EO) was issued suspension orders after allegations of unauthorised rituals held by tantriks on the night of December 26.
The committee, headed by Endowments Department assistance commissioner M Raghunath, spoke to priests and authorities of the temple to ascertain what happened.
Addressing reporters, Raghunath said that around 40 temple staffers were questioned, including head protest Badrinath Babu.
"We have prepared a chart of who entered the temple at what time, and we will organise it in a factual manner and submit it to the government, along with the statements of those who spoke to us," he said.
According to reports, Raghunath also hinted that the enquiry committee has come to a conclusion that no tantric puja was performed.
Those who deposed to the committee refused to speak to the media, saying that the committee report would come out soon.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) President N Raghuveera Reddy demanded that an inquiry by a sitting High Court judge, into the incident.
“Performing of the alleged tantric rituals in the famous Durga temple should be probed by a High Court judge. The tantric rituals could not be performed in the Kanaka Durga temple, located in the heart of the city, without the support of some people in the government” he was quoted as saying.
The Kanaka Durga temple is the second most popular and one of the most crowded temples in the state after the Sri Venkateswara temple atop Tirumala.
Last week, local media reports alleged that a tantric ritual took place after the temple was closed, with the knowledge of chief priest Badrinath Babu.
CCTV footage allegedly showed that priests had decked up the presiding deity as Goddess Kali and performed ‘Bhairavi puja’ for more than two hours, even preparing ‘kadamba prasadam’ in the temple kitchen to offer to the goddess.
While the temple closes for devotees at 9 pm, the police said that the alleged ritual continued till 12.45 am.
However, authorities and said that the priests had only performed a ritual to ‘clean’ the sanctum sanctorum by reciting mantras, claiming that it was a monthly procedure.