Lord Ram idol vandalised in Andhra's Ramatheertham

Lord Ram idol vandalised in Andhra Pradesh's Ramatheertham

'At a time when the construction of Ram mandir is going on at Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya, the idol of Lord Ram is destroyed in our state,' said Pawan Kalyan

Representative image/Credit: iStock images

The desecration of Lord Ram idol at the famous Ramatheertham in Vizianagaram district came as yet another shocker for the people in Andhra Pradesh, witnessing a series of spiteful incidents at temples for the past one year.

On Tuesday morning, priests found the doors of the ancient Sita Lakshmana Kodandarama temple on the Bodikonda hillock in Ramatheertham broke open and the Ram idol in the sanctum sanctorum sans the head.

The severed portion was retrieved from the nearby temple pond on Wednesday.

“At a time when the construction of Ram mandir is going on at Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya, the idol of Lord Ram is destroyed in our state. Separating the head of the idol cannot be an act of an insane person. It is an act of some religious maniacs,” Janasena Party chief Pawan Kalyan said in a statement on Wednesday.

The gutting of temple chariots in Bitragunta (Nellore) in February, Antarvedi in September, and violation of several Hindu idols at Pithapuram in January are some of the prominent malicious acts reported this year.

In some cases like Antarvedi, where the six-decade-old, 40 feet high wooden ratham of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha went up in flames in wee hours under mysterious circumstances, the Andhra police had initially put the blame on demented vagrants.

Following the public and political pressure, the YSRCP government referred the Antarvedi matter to the CBI.

The vandalised Ram idol now has further enraged Hindu devotees and organisations while allowing the TDP, BJP and the Janasena to sharpen their attack on Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy government, accusing his indifference towards earlier incidents as encouraging more such occurrences.

“The destruction of Ram idol at the four centuries old Ramatheertham temple is resultant of the negligence of the ruling party. In the last 19 months, over 120 temple attacks took place in a premeditated manner. And for reasons unknown, the CM remained a silent spectator to these attacks,” accused former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu.

BJP activists staged a protest at the temple on Tuesday night. Andhra BJP chief Somu Veerraju demanded the government to act sternly and punish the culprits.

Meanwhile, the Vizianagaram district police are investigating the case, forming five special teams.

“We are probing from all angles to know if this is an act of treasure hunters or involves communal angle or a miscreant act. We have not made any arrests so far,” Raja Kumari, SP, Vizianagaram told DH.

Pawan Kalyan, an ally of the BJP, has called for Union Home Ministry's attention and a CBI probe covering all the temple incidents in AP.

“Why is the CM not responding to the spate of onslaughts on Hindu temples? He may have faith in any religion, but he should respect sentiments of other religions,” Kalyan said.