Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams staffers held for conversions
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) came under cloud once again for ineffective implementation of GO no.746, which prohibits religious conversions and canvassing in favour of other religions atop the temple. In a first, three TTD employees were taken into custody on Tuesday by the vigilance officers for carrying out proselytisation activities. An enquiry has been ordered into their antecedents.
When the vigilance sleuths raided their homes, posters and material of other religious faiths were found in the number V quarters of Krishnamma, Yasodamma and Eswaraiah. Acting swiftly, joint executive officer (JEO) Srinivasa Raju transferred them from Tirumala. As per GO 746, which is applicable to TTD alone, if any one is found carrying out campaigning for other religions they are punishable with imprisonment for three years. “Religious material was found at their places. After a thorough enquiry we will submit a report to the executive officer,” Ashok Kumar, chief vigilance officer, told TOI.
Tirumala was a witness to similar incidents of proselytisation in the past. One of the employees, Nagaraju was caught by the pilgrims when he was indulging in proselytisation last year. He was handed over to the police and transferred from Tirumala duties. A few months back a nurse Aruna working in a hospital was also identified as carrying out similar activities but no stringent action was taken against her. Workers from West Bengal and Odisha working in a hotel were picked up when the vigilance officials found religious material in their home.
Taking umbrage at a series of these activities, Hindu prachara dharma activists came down heavily on the TTD. “They do lip service but no serious action is taken on the culprits. Our memoranda to put an end to these activities have had no impact on the authorities. We suspect there are at least 100 such employees in Tirumala,” BJP leader Bhanuprakash Reddy rued.