Kurnool, October 11: The Andhra Pradesh police have arrested 21 people in Kurnool district for allegedly duping devotees visiting Srisailam temple by selling them "special" bottle gourds. The accused, who are associated with an ashram, would sell bottle gourds to gullible devotees claiming that they had special powers. The group collected lakhs of rupees by cheating devotees, police have said. 11 Including Juvenile Arrested in Crimes Related to Temple: Andhra Pradesh DGP.
Bottle gourds are also called "naga sorakaya" or snake bottle gourd because they are shaped similar to the wind instrument played by snake charmers. In Andhra Pradesh, many people believe a myth that bottle gourds of a certain shape possess special powers and can bring good fortune. "None of this is true," Atmakur Sub-Inspector of Police Nagendra was quoted by The News Minute as saying. Andhra Police Bust Inter-state Gang, Crack 'Chittoor- Nandi' Desecration Case.
According to Nagendra, the accused would look for devotees visiting Srisailam temple who believe in the myth related to bottle gourds. They used to sell "special" bottle gourds for lakhs of rupees to such devotees. "In some cases, the gourd has been sold for up to Rs 1 or 2 crore," the police officer said. The accused, who hailed from different districts in Telangana, were working at Annapurna Devi Ashramam in Srisailam.
After the arrest of 21 accused, people who were running the ashram, including a man named Aravind Reddy, fled. The accused were booked under Section 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).