An old video recording of a speech made by Tamil actor Sivakumar has kicked up controversy now after an FIR (first information report) against him surfaced on social media on Saturday.
The Tirumala II Town police in Andhra Pradesh had registered the FIR on April 29 based on a complaint by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) vigilance wing inspector V Subramanyam Reddy. The complaint alleged that the actor, in his speech, has hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community by making derogatory remarks against lord Venkateswara temple at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh.
The vigilance wing inspector filed the complaint based on the complaint he received via email from Tamil Mayan, who is reportedly a devotee. The FIR has been filed under sections 500 (defamation) and 505 1(b) (with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public) of the Indian Penal Code.
In this speech from an unverifiable date, the actor narrates an anecdote on stage comparing the treatment given to a devotee, who had walked all the way from Katpadi (Tamil Nadu) to the Tirumala temple braving serpentine queues over the course of four days, to that of an influential, rich man who did not have to go through any of the ordeals the other man did to see the deity inside the temple.
The actorâ€™s statement, which he claims to have experienced first hand, is cheered by the audience, as seen in the footage. He talks about the treatment given to sculptors in temples and the existing practice of not allowing people from certain castes from entering into Hindu places of worship.
â€śFrom 1006 AD to 1010 the big temple in Thanjavur was constructed - the temple that celebrated its 1000th year anniversary. Over 1000 sculptors, construction workers must have worked building it. The temple was built over a period of six years. A sculptor sat on top and repeatedly tapped on a stone to make the Shiva lingam out of it. Remember this. He sat atop the 16 ft stone and made a Shiva lingam. When finished, the lingam would have been placed inside the sanctum and the kumbabishegam (opening ceremony) would have been done. Once this has been done, the same sculptor is not allowed to touch the very same lingam he made with his own hands. The construction workers who worked inside the temple too were not allowed enter it. Do not think that Iâ€™m misinforming you here. The same fact was shared during by a 12th generation sculptor from Thanjavur who came from the very same family that made the lingam. He told me, â€śSir it is the same even today. I belong to the family that sculpted the lingam. We are still not being allowed inside the temple.â€ť Think about it. Untouchability is still being practised in the temple,â€ť he said.
â€śTamil Cine Actor Siva Kumar made false propagation against Tirumala temple by alleging that some illegal activities are going on in Tirumala and advised not to visit Tirumala temple and thereby got hatred the sentiments of devotees (sic),â€ť reads the FIR registered by the Vigilance Wing of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanamâ€™s (TTD).
Speaking to TNM, an official from Tirumal II Town station said they have filed the case but no action has been taken so far because of the lockdown. â€śThe temple is also expected to open shortly and we can expect updates later,â€ť the official said.