VIZIANAGARAM: Tensions reigned in Ramatheertham in Vizianagaram District after MANSAS President and Ramatheertham Temple Hereditary Administrator P Ashok Gajapathi Raju reportedly attempted to remove the plaque from the Sri Temple’s cornerstone laying ceremony Kodandarama Swamy Wednesday.
Raju questioned temple officials for failing to give him prior information about the foundation stone laying ceremony in accordance with temple standards and customs. He also opposed the names on the foundation’s list and tried to remove them, which sparked heated discussions between Raju and YCRC leaders. Dissatisfied with the treatment he received from lawmakers, Ashok Gajapathi Raju sat down to protest at the site where the foundation stone for the temple renovation was laid.
Speaking to reporters later, Raju said the government violated temple customs and rituals. “The temple was built by our ancestors 400 years ago. He did not belong to the government. They are to inform the temple administrator of the reconstruction and the foundation stone ceremony. The endowments officers work under the orders of the YSRC leaders. They did not follow the standards and customs of the temple. The government is playing a circus with the Hindu temple, in particular the Ramatheertham temple, ”he alleged.
Later, the Minister of Endowments laid the foundation stone for the reconstruction of Sri Kodandarama Swamy Temple. Deputy Chief Minister Pamula Puspha Srivani, Minister of Municipal Administration and Urban Development Botcha Satyanarayana, MP for Vizianagaram Bellana Chandrasekhar, Local MP B Appalanaidu, District Collector A Suryakumari, Endowment Commissioner Hari Jawaharlal and others were present.
After the vandalism of Lord Rama’s idols by unidentified disbelievers on December 28, 2020, the state government sanctioned Rs 3 crore for the reconstruction of the Sri Kodanda Rama temple. The government also sanctioned 1 crore rupees for the development work of the Sitarama temple in Ramatheertham.
Speaking on the occasion, Vellampalli condemned the comments made by Raju, who called the government a “circus company”. “The YSRC government sanctioned Rs 4 crore at the Ramatheertham temple, including Rs 3 crore for the reconstruction of the Sri Kodandarama temple. A ramp to move construction materials to the top of the hill has been built. The construction of the temple will be completed before 2022 Srirama Navami, ”the minister said.
Meanwhile, TDP supremo and opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu accused YSRC ministers of behaving like “street thugs”. How could devotional activities be performed at the temple without naming its trustee, the TDP leader asked.