Devotees want seer to step down

‘not guiltY’: Sosale Vyasaraja Mutt seer Vidyamanohara Teertha reacts to the angry mob outside the mutt premises in Basavanagudi on Sunday. DH Photo

Vidyamanohara Teertha, head of the Sosale Vyasaraj Mutt, had to deal with a mob of angry devotees outside the mutt premises in Basavanagudi on Sunday.

Outraged by the arrest of the seer by the Andhra Pradesh police in connection with an alleged cheque bounce case, the devotees staged a protest. They demanded that he step down immediately.

They accused Vidyamanohara of having sold a lot of jewellery belonging to the temple,  including a crown granted by the Vijayanagara emperor Krishnadevaraya. He had also sold land and leased properties belonging to the mutt, they complained.

“According to the tradition, a seer appointing his grandson as a successor is prohibited. However, Vidyamanohara got to this position by breaking it,” a devotee pointed out.

In defence

In his defence, Vidyamanohara said he was not involved in the cheque bounce case. He claimed he was framed.

“I have not committed any mistake. This is a ploy by the people who are jealous of my position,” he added.

But the devotees wanted to know why the seer was hiding inside the mutt. They claimed that he was facing more than a dozen cases. They said they would go on an indefinite hunger strike on Wednesday along with a parallel sit-in at the mutt.

The police had a tough time in protecting the seer from the devotees’ wrath. At least 10  policemen guarded the mutt against the devotees, who said they would not leave the mutt without the seer answering their queries.

A representatives of the mutt verbally abused a reporter, who had tried to talk to the seer as he was getting into his vehicle in the evening. Later, the police apologised to the mediaperson and persuaded angry reporters to leave the place.

Earlier in the day, when this reporter managed to enter the mutt, he found policemen  being “blessed” (with shawls and flowers) by the mutt’s representatives. They were also fed by the mutt.

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