YSRCP MLA calls Collector ‘arrogant’ for prohibiting Shivratri procession in Anantapur

Collector Gandham Chandrudu had prohibited the age-old practice of horse-riding through fire circles due to a conflict between two villages in Anantapur.
MLA Kethireddy Venkatrami Reddy and Collector Gandham Chandrudu
MLA Kethireddy Venkatrami Reddy and Collector Gandham Chandrudu
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YSRCP Dharmavaram MLA Kethireddy Venkatrami Reddy has lashed out at Anantapur District Collector Gandham Chandrudu IAS for allegedly causing a caste division by prohibiting an age-old custom as part of Shivaratri. Ahead of the Maha Shivratri celebration on March 11 at Sri Katakoteswara Swamy Temple in Anantapur, District Collector Gandham Chandrudu had prohibited the procession involving the age-old practice of horse riding through fire circles due to a conflict between the two villages, Chillavaripalle village and Ankenipalli village in Tadimarri Mandal. 

In Chillavaripalli village, men from the Boya caste (Backward Class) traditionally ride the horses from the village to fire circles on the outskirts of the village and head back, on the eve of Maha Shivratri. However, there is a conflict between the Boya caste men from Chillvaripalle and Ankenipalli, about who should carry out the horse-riding procession. Collector Gandham Chandrudu, in view of a possible tension between two villages, prohibited the procession. 

However, on the day of the celebration, on March 11, some residents of Chillvaripalle village tried to take out the procession. The police then intervened and stopped the procession.

As the issue further escalated, local leaders tried to pacify the devotees and at one point, the doors of the temple had to be closed. Balireddy, the brother of temple trustee Rameshwar Reddy, allegedly attempted to take his own life following the developments in the backdrop horse-riding procession issue.

"Because of an arrogant and egoistic Collector's shameful decision, a man named Balreddy from the Chllavaripalli village, which has a population of nearly 800 people, attempted to take his own life," said MLA Kethireddy Venkatrami Reddy.

"The Boya (community) people conduct the tradition annually. If he wanted, the Collector could have made arrangement to ensure the procession is conducted peacefully, as it is celebrated by people from all castes. However, he stopped the procession by using hundreds of police, though there was no law and order situation. No one was questioning it. What was his problem?,” remarked the YSRCP MLA. 

Further criticising the Collector, he said, “Are we here as MLAs for donkey grazing? He does not care about the MLAs, MPs and Ministers? Would you create a divide between the upper castes and lower castes?"

The YSRCP MLA even alleged that the Collector is taking credit for the works that the others are doing and is giving wrong feedback to Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy about the administration in the district. The MLA even accused the Collector of looking at the MLAs and other politicians like "idiots."

However, a section of the Boya community organisations and representatives said that people from the Reddy community are claiming that they are the trustees, though the temple was being looked after by the Boyas and other marginalised communities.

Collector Gandham Chandrudu is known for his creative initiatives and successful implementation of government schemes. He was appreciated by state and Union governments for his works.

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