Desecration of temples in Andhra Pradesh raised in Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) A BJP member raised the recent spate of attacks on Hindu temples in Andhra Pradesh in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and demanded that the Union Home Ministry seek a report from the state.

Raising the issue through a zero-hour mention, GVL Narasimha Rao of the BJP said more than 140 incidents of attacks on Hindu temples have taken place in Andhra Pradesh.

Stating that there has been a spate of attacks on Hindu temples in the state, he said there have 'either (been) attacks or some kind of activities which cause grievous harm to the sacred nature of places of worship.' He mentioned a recent incident of desecration of Lord Ram idol in Sri Rama Swamy Devasthanam in Vizianagaram district.

'Idol of Bhagwan Ram was severed, it was beheaded' at Ramateerth -- a temple considered North Andhra's Ayodhya -- he said, adding the temple is 400 years old.

'Several such incidents have happened,' he said, adding a 70-year-old wooden chariot belonging to Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple in Antarvedi town in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh was burnt.

Similarly, a chariot of Sri Prasanna Venkateswara Swamy temple at Bitragunta of Nellore district was burnt last year.

'The state government had not acted in time for last year and a half. As a result, several such incidents have happened,' he alleged.

He said even recently when the state government swung into action after a massive uproar, it blamed some political individuals for posting against such incidents on social media rather than catching the culprits involved in such acts of sacrilege.

'This is something that has deeply hurt not only Hindus in Andhra Pradesh but all over the country and also dharmacharyas,' he said. 'Rather than taking it as a political episode, it is incumbent upon the state administration to identify the real culprits and punish them in a manner that really sends a strong message.' He appealed to the Union Home Ministry to get into action and ask the state government for a report.

During the Zero Hour, Fauzia Khan of the NCP demanded recruiting more officers through the UPSC Civil Services and Grade A exams so as to lessen the burden on the bureaucracy and bring more accountability and transparency.

P Subhash Chandra Bose (YSR-Congress) raised the issue of GST on handlooms making them expensive, his party colleague Ayodhya Rami Reddy wanted the government to take steps to support companies in the infrastructure sector which have faced cost and time overruns. PTI ANZ SMN