The padayatra would begin at the Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada on July 29, and will end at Tirupati on August 12.

TTD controversy Hindu seers in Andhra announce padayatra from Vijayawada to TirupatiFile photo: PTI
news Controversy Monday, July 23, 2018 - 08:39

Several Hindu seers will launch a padayatra from Vijayawada to Tirupati, over the ongoing controversy at the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), to protest against the attitude of the state government in Andhra Pradesh.

The walkathon is expected to be led by Saiva Kshetram Seer Siva Swamy, with their main demand being the setting up of a fact-finding committee to look into the allegations of missing jewels.

Speaking to reporters, Siva Swamy said that the padayatra would begin at the Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada on July 29, where several pontiffs of Hindu mutts would be present. 

The congregation is expected to reach Tirupati by August 12, where a massive public meeting is scheduled to be held at the temple town's Indira grounds. The padayatra will cover 30-km a day and 500 villages in total.

“Before we complete the 15-day march, the government should constitute a committee to find the facts to clear the allegations on the jewels of lord Venkateswara. The committee should contain board members, members of Vedic committee, Swamijis, gemologists and appraisers. If the government doesn’t constitute the said committee before completion of our 15-day foot march, then our action plan will be immediately announced at the public meeting,” Siva Swamy was quoted as saying.

In June this year, several religious seers and pontiffs met in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday and expressed their regret over the 'unfortunate' turn of events at the Lord Venkateswara temple at Tirumala.

The gathering, which met under the banner of the Tirumala Tirupati Samrakshana Samithi or 'Protection Committee', saw many religious heads including Paripoornananda Swamy, Kamalananda Bharati Swami and Vidyaranya Bharati, who convened the meeting. 

Speaking to reporters, those who had gathered condemned the political interference into the religious affairs of the Tirumala temple and demanded the reconstitution of the Dharmik Parishad, a body that would oversee the affairs.

Background

Former TTD chief priest Ramana Deekshitulu was sacked in May by authorities on the grounds that he exceeded the retirement age limit. However, this unceremonious sacking came after he levelled shocking allegations against the TTD administration on financial irregularities, and also raised suspicion that several old ornaments from the temple were missing.

He also claimed that the pink diamond which had been part of the platinum necklace of Lord Venkateshwara, had been stolen and smuggled to Geneva. Making these shocking allegations, Deekshithulu demanded for a CBI inquiry, and also pressed for bringing the TTD under the ambit of the RTI for transparency. 

Meanwhile, the TTD accused Deekshitulu of ‘politicising’ temple affairs and threatened to take legal action against him.

 

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