Police obtained video footage, which showed rituals being performed on December 26, after the temple closed for devotees.

Was tantric ritual conducted at Vijayawadas Kanaka Durga temple EO suspendedA screenshot from the video
news Controversy Thursday, January 04, 2018 - 11:04

In a major controversy at the Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada, the Executive Officer (EO) was suspended after allegations of unauthorised rituals held by tantriks on the night of December 26.

Besides suspending the EO, the state government has ordered a probe into the incident.

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.

According to reports, the Endowments Department replaced EO Surya Kumari with Ramachandra Mohan, the EO of Simhachalam temple in Visakhapatnam, after allegations that a puja took place after the temple was closed with the knowledge of chief priest Badrinath Babu.

On Tuesday evening, Surya Kumari addressed reporters and said that the priests had only performed a ritual to ‘clean’ the sanctum sanctorum by reciting mantras. She also said that it was a monthly procedure and denied allegations of a tantric ritual being performed.

However, the police soon obtained video footage of the incident, which showed three priests and one unidentified man performing rituals on December 26 after the temple closed for devotees.

Police officers from the One Town police station in Vijayawada then arrested three priests, Pranav, Srujan and Raja, who reportedly confessed to having performed “tantric pujas” at the behest of the chief priest.

Local media reports alleged that the 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, speaking to a local media outlet, the chief priest denied all allegations and asked people not to believe such ‘wild’ accusations. He said that the CCTV footage was available for people to watch, to show that they were only performing a cleaning ritual.

The issue has irked other Hindu seers as well, with Swamy Swaroopanandendra Saraswati of Visakha Sarada Peetham dubbing the incident ‘unfortunate’.

Stating that temples should not be used for political purposes, he demanded strict action against those guilty of performing the alleged ritual and said that he would even move court if necessary.

The issue also turned political after the YSRCP stepped in, with official spokesman Ambati Ramababu alleging that the tantric puja was conducted on the behest of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, to make his son Nara Lokesh the next CM.

Watch part of the CCTV video below:

 

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