Jerusalem pilgrimage ad on APSRTC buses sparks row

Jerusalem pilgrimage ad on APSRTC buses sparks row

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A holy Jerusalem pilgrimage campaign advertisement printed on the back of APSRTC bus tickets issued for Tirumala hill shrine has sparked a row. State units of BJP alleged a government-led conspiracy to hurt the sentiment of Hindus.

The BJP has already termed Y S Jaganmohan Reddy anti-Hindu for allegedly refusing to light a lamp at Dallas, during his recent visit to the USA and the Srisailam temple authority renting out commercial space to Non-Hindus.

On Thursday, a few pilgrims noticed the Jerusalem pilgrimage package details when they purchased tickets from the RTC ticket counters. They brought the issue to the notice of the officials, who immediately withdrew the ticket rolls.

The officials say that rollers with the advertisement were sent to Ram Bhageecha bus station close to the temple on the hills by mistake. Few tourists also circulated screenshots of the ticket on social media that attracted widespread criticism.

“All the staff that plies the buses on the ghat road to Tirumala hills are Hindus. No one else is allowed to operate the buses. This is a mistake, as all government schemes, including the subsidies of the Jerusalem trip were also printed," depot official Giridhar Reddy explained.

BJP activists held protests in front for APSRTC Regional Manager's office in Tirupati and demanded action on those responsible. “As per the law, campaigning in favour any other religion in the vicinity of the temple and also all the sister temples of the TTD is a punishable offence,” G Bhanuprakash Reddy of BJP's Chittoor unit said.

BJP Andhra Pradesh state unit president Kanna Lakshmi Narayana demanded that the government initiate steps to clear apprehensions of the devotees. “Secular government must not let religious advertisement on the bus tickets,” he said. Telangana BJP MLA Raja Singh Lodh wanted stringent action on the culprits.

State Endowments minister Vellampalli Srinivas ordered an inquiry into the incident and assured action after he receives the report. YSRCP leaders of the district said that there were advertisements of subsidized Hajj Yatra on few tickets too and all the tickets were printed when TDP was in rule.

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