Rajamundry (Andhra Pradesh), Andhra Pradesh BJP president Somu Veerraju and other party leaders held a demonstration against the Antarvedi temple chariot blaze and other similar cases in the city on Thursday.
“A comprehensive inquiry must be conducted on the Antarvedi temple issue,” read a placard Veerraju held in the party office.
The BJP party organised a one-hour protest sit-in on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., under the joint banner of the party and its local ally Janasena party.
Veerraju was accompanied by party leaders and members.
Considering the Coronavirus pandemic, BJP gave a call for its supporters to conduct a sit-in protest right in their homes.
“Even in the light of Antarvedi case and similar incidents on Hindu temples and their assets, the government is exhibiting a negligent attitude in dealing with them,” alleged a party official.
Lending support to AP BJP leaders, a few party senior leaders have also replicated a sit-in demonstration in Delhi.
“Sat on a protest against a series of unabated attacks on Hindu temples and chariots in Andhra Pradesh along with Sunil Deodhar and G.V.L. Narasimha Rao,” said BJP national secretary Y. Satya Kumar.
Another party national secretary and co-incharge of the party’s AP affairs, Sunil Deodhar, asked for the immediate release of arrested leaders in East Godavari district.
However, a police official had confirmed on Wednesday night that no leader was arrested, but only prevented from coming out of their homes, so that the law and order situation did not slip out of control.
On Tuesday evening, police arrested 43 protesters who descended on Antarvedi village to demonstrate against the chariot blaze and also pelted stones at a local church and destroyed its compound wall and window panes.
Of the 43 arrests made, 38 were men while five were women. Five of the accused received notice from the police while a local court remanded the rest to judicial custody till September 22.
Only one the arrested people was a local while the remaining were non-locals from nearby villages and even places as far away as Guntur, Kakinada, Rajamundry and others.
One Tumuluri Lakshmi, 33, wife of Prasad, came all the way from Shaikpet in Hyderabad of Telangana state, 474 kms away.
Meanwhile, a group of local youth associated with the temple released a video message condemning the church attack.
“Some people who came to protest have pelted stones on a nearby church which does not have anything to do with the temple issue. On behalf of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple youth, we condemn this act,” said a local youth associated with the temple.
Byra Nagaraju, another temple youth appealed to the troublemakers not to create any rift among the local people who peacefully coexist.
Another BJP party official alleged that the incumbent YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh ignored attacks on 15 temples.
Likewise, he accused the Chandrababu Naidu-led previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government of demolishing 17 temples in Vijayawada.
He claimed that Naidu said temples were useless and roads were more important.
On Saturday night, a seven-tiered six-decade-old wooden chariot of the famous Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in Antarvedi in East Godavari district was gutted in a fire under mysterious circumstances. Police are awaiting the forensic report.
Scenic Antarvedi is located in the lush green Konaseema region of East Godavari district, 57 km southeast of Bhimavaram. The temple is located near the confluence point of the mighty Godavari river and the Bay of Bengal on the east coast of India.
Andhra Pradesh is one of the four southern states where the BJP is yet to taste success, even as it came to power in Karnataka already.
Following the bifurcation of AP into two states in 2014, the Congress party was decimated in the state’s political scene.