The Vijayawada police on Sunday detained activists of several Hindu groups and foiled the plan for a protest march after denying permission for a padayatra from Vijayawada to Tirupati, over the ongoing controversy at the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD).
The city police swung into action swiftly and said that Section 144 was in place. According to reports, several activists gathered at the Prakasam Barrage in the city, but were quickly detained.
Those who were detained lashed out at the state government in Andhra Pradesh and accused the TDP of indulging in 'anti-Hindu' activities.
The walkathon was expected to be led by Saiva Kshetram Seer Siva Swamy, who went absconding a few days ago, with police stating that he would be detained if he went ahead with the protest.
Speaking to reporters earlier, Siva Swamy had 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 was expected to reach Tirupati by August 12, where a massive public meeting was scheduled to be held at the temple town's Indira grounds. The padayatra was scheduled to cover 30-km a day and 500 villages in total.
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.
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.
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 â€˜politicisingâ€™ temple affairs and threatened to take legal action against him.