The two Telugu states Hindu groups are worried about the corruption, the dominance of other ,and the temple executive officer’s controversial attitude in the administrative section of Sri Bhramarambika Mallikarjuna Swamy Devasthanam at Srisailam. This led to the state government Chief Secretary, L.V. Subrahmanyam, issuing an order on Monday, transferring the temple Executive Officer A. Sri Ramachandra Murthy. Anantapur Deputy Collector K. S. Rama Rao has been appointed as the new Executive Officer for the year’s tenure. This has put a stop to the week-long erupting controversy.
What is the actual controversy?
Srisaila Kshetram is one of the twelve (Dwadasa) Jyotirlingas and the most important of the eighteen (Ashtadasa) Shakti Pithas. This is one of the main endowment temples in Telugu states. In the last few decades, however, with the appointment of non-Hindu employees in the administrative section of the Srisailam Temple, the tenders of the Devasthanam and the licenses, were given to the Muslims. This was supported by the temple EO A. Ramchandra Murthy. This generated fierce opposition from the Hindus. According to the orders issued in 2011 by the then joint Telugu States endowments Commissioner, no contracts were to be given to non-Hindus in the Devasthanam shopping complex or any other contracts. In violation of this order, the shopping complex tender licences of Srisailam temple as well as other licenses were given to the Muslim people. Since then, the Muslims have gained the upper hand in the administrative section of the temple. In this, two Muslims, Rafi and Razzak, with their political influence began to exercise their authority over Hindu servants and devotees. In addition, the controversy turned to extreme form when the Temple Executive officer started supporting the activities of these Muslims.
On August 16, 2019, the local Hindus were enraged to see that Muslims were also present to submit and file tender documents and licenses for the Devasthanam shopping complexes. At this stage, local Srisailam BJP leader Budda Shrikanta Reddy opposed this affair and questioned the E.O and was arrested by the police and produced in court. With this incident, all Hindu organisations decided to free the Sri Saila area from the unauthorized rule of Muslims. On August 20, 2019, all Hindu organisations called for “Chalo Srisailam” program. They planned to conduct a peaceful protest against corruption in the Srisailam area and the dominance of non-Hindu religions.
With this, the situation became tense. The activists belonging to the Hindu organisations such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajaranga dal, Shivashakti, etc., reached Srisailam and called for a protest. As a result, a large number of Hindus from the Telugu states also arrived at Srisailam. In the meantime, the Chief Secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Government issued an order transferring the Srisailam Temple EO on the evening of August 19.
The central point of controversy is the temple EO:
From the beginning, the attitude of A. Ramachandra Murthy, who worked as an executive officer at Srisailam, was controversial and corrupt. In addition, to get married a second time, he converted to Islam and a case was registered against him in the Andhra Pradesh High court in 2010. At that time, the regency member of the Srikalahasthi temple M. Subrahmanyam Reddy filed a case against Ramachandra Murthy, then E.O of the same temple. Subrahmanyam Reddy stated in his petition that Ramchandra Murthy had accepted Islam and married another woman while he had a wife. He said that he had been appealing to the Government many times and in the absence of any response, he approached the court. The High Court issued an arrest warrant against Ramchandra Murthy, due to his failure to attend the court despite several notices. The Hindu organisations protested that not only a person with a criminal history was appointed as the E.O of Srisailam temple, but this time also he was merely transferred. Whatever, according to the plan, they decided to reach Srisailam. In this process, the police forces in the Srisailam area arrested the activists and devotees of the Shiva Shakti Spiritual Consciousness platform in the name of maintaining security. However, when the activists showed no signs of retiring from the protest, the new EO of the Temple K. S Rama Rao took up discussions with representatives of Hindu organizations.
Representatives of the Hindu organisations submitted a memorandum to the new EO demanding that the non-Hind’s interference in the temple’s transactions should be totally removed and action should be taken against those people who acquired the surrounding shops illegally in the auction. The new EO said that he felt lucky to come to Srisailam and that this was not possible without the grace of God. He said the sanctity of the temple would be preserved and he told the representatives that they should give him some time to sort out this matter.
17 other non-Hindu employees in Srisailam so far!:
Meanwhile, on 19th August, 2019 evening, the Legal Rights Protection Forum has revealed the details of the 17 non-Hindu in the administrative section of Srisailam Devasthanams through their Twitter handle. Three of them are regular employees and the rest are clearly contract and out-sourced employees. The Legal Rights Protection Forum also revealed the details of their employee IDs, recruitment dates and recruitment orders along with employees’ names. LRPF said through their Twitter handle that the details were taken to the notice of the Endowment Commissioner and the Special Cheif Secretary to the Government of Andhra Pradesh state for necessary action.