TTD door open for Ramana Dikshitulu, other retd priests

Representative image. (PTI photo)

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) on Tuesday allowed re-entry of four chief priests who retired from service into Srivari temple.

As per the assurance given by the Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy, former chief priest Dr AV Ramana Deekshitulu has been appointed as Agama adviser. He will also train the young archakas as an additional responsibility, the order said. It was also decided to reinstate the services of his two sons as Archakas in Tirumala temple who were transferred to Sri Govindaraja Swamy temple in last year.

Along with Deekshitulu, four more retired priests will get another chance to serve the Lord with immediate effect. Deekshitulu and these four priests were forced to retire by the earlier Board, after the TTD Board under Putta Sudhakar Yadav in May last year fixed the age for retirement even for hereditary priests. However the retirement of Deekshitulu was considered as a tit-for-tat for his press conference in Chennai, where he accused Nara Chandrababu Naidu's government of diverting temple funds. He also alleged that valuable ornaments and jewels went missing from the temple.

The then TTD board argued that other hereditary priests must also have a chance to serve the Lord as all the priests have equal rights to do so. However the sacked priests knocked the door of the High Court and then the Apex court in separate cases seeking justice. The High Court has set aside the TTD order and ordered reinstatement of retired priests of Tirumala and sister temples in the month of December.

The YS Jaganmohan Reddy government, which has considered the plea of Dr Deekhsitulu and others, saw to it that the retired priests were reinstated with full right to enter the temple, which was restricted by the earlier TTD board.

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