The Telangana government suspended two priests on Wednesday, after they allegedly shifted an idol from the Gnana Saraswathi temple in Basar to a private school in Nalgonda district for an Aksharabhaysam.
The priests were identified as chief priest P. Sanjeev Kumar and Sthapathi Paaraayandar Pranav Sharma. Aksharabhaysam is performed as an initiation into education.
According to reports, the incident came to light on July 28, after a video of the students and the idol went viral on social media.
This irked several devotees, who took to the streets outside the temple, to vent their ire.
Following this, Telangana Endowments and Housing Minister A. Indrakaran Reddy directed the Commissioner of the Endowments Department to conduct an inquiry into it.
After the findings, Reddy expressed anger that the idol had been moved, and said that the government would not tolerate the sentiments of people being hurt.
In a press statement, Executive Officer of the Gnana Saraswathi temple of Basar, A Sudhakar Reddy, stated that Sanjeev Kumar's explanation was sought over the incident, and added that he applied for a three-day long medical leave.
The Gnana Saraswati Temple, located by the Godavari River, attracts several parents every day, who come with their children for the Aksharabhaysam.
“Aksharabhyasam is to be performed when a child completes two years and is turning three. As the mind of the child develops and is keen to learn various things in the world, Aksharabhyasam is performed in the third year as an initiation to start formal education,” a priest had earlier told Deccan Herald.
Reports add that this is not the first time that the temple has been under scrutiny, as priests had to face the wrath of officials as they allegedly delayed offering Naivedyam by 30 minutes when Assembly Speaker S Madhusudana Chary had visited them.