Yet another temple has been demolished allegedly for development work, this time in Andhra Pradesh. Part of Neelamani Durga Devi temple in Pathapatnam was demolished by the Andhra Pradesh government allegedly for construction of a flyover. Devotees have raked up protests against this anti-Hindu move with BJP also pitching in.
Social media is abuzz with the videos and pictures of the Neelamani Durga Devi temple in Srikakulam district being torn apart by a JCB. The issue went viral after Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh and BJP national secretary and Andhra Pradesh co-in-charge, Sunil Deodhar tweeted about the incident accusing Jagan Reddy led YSRCP government of being amti-Hindu.
Terming the action atrocious and anti-Hindu Lokesh tweeted, “In the two-and-a-half-year rule of YS Jagan, Antarvedi temple chariot was burnt, idols at ancient Ram tirtha were destroyed. God was insulted”. In a series of tweets he said that the temple was demolished without giving time for the devotees to reinstall the murtis somewhere else. He also said that devotees complained that even though they had reached out to the YSRCP MLA he didn’t listen to their pleas.
Sunil Deodhar accused the Jagan government of “not following the set procedure and norms to shift the temple” which resulted in the murti of Hanuman ji also being demolished. Devotees were aghast at seeing part of the temple being demolished ruthlessly and ardent devotees were crying their heart out on seeing the broken murtis.
Speaking to IANS Deodhar said, “Neelamani Durga Devi Temple at Pathapatnam in Srikakulam district is one of the ancient temples where Hindus of North Andhra Pradesh and Odisha worship, is destroyed by the Jagan government in the name of road widening. No norms for shifting a temple like allocating land, consent of local Hindus was followed”. He assured that BJP will not remain silent over the incident terming it as a deliberate attempt to hurt Hindu sentiments and demanded for a public apology from the minister of HRCE department.
He accused “Evangelist CM Jagan” of letting those who vandalised temples roam freely and now legitimising temple destruction in AP. Meanwhile government officials have informed the media that the demolition drive was to make way for a railway-flyover construction for which a part of the compound wall and the arch at the front side of the temple had to be removed. The partial demolition of Srikakulam temple has upset the devotees as the authorities didn’t even give time to remove the murtis. They staged a protest against the government accusing it of not giving prior notice.
AP government’s official fact check twitter handle tweeted that the notice to demolish the temple was sent in 2020 itself and that the demolished parts will be built again. In the past when the issue of the cross being part of decorations in Tirupati was raised, the same handle had called the images fake and threatened those who share it with legal action. However even in the picture shared by the same handle as the original one, the decorations looked like crosses.
While BJP has taken up this issue accusing Jagan Reddy of being anti-Hindu highlighting his religion, it must remember that its own government in Karnataka also did the same by demolishing 600 year old Mahadevamma temple in Nanjangud. Local MP Pratap Simha did take note of it and took the matter to the CM and saved the other temples on demolition drive. But he himself revealed that while mosques and churches were left untouched temples were demolished nonchalantly. When it comes to the protection of dharma and temples that propagate it, whether it is the Christian Jagan Reddy or the pro-Hindu BJP, Hindus must stay vigilant.