TTD employees in black badge protest against Deekhsitulu

TTD employees in black badge protest against Deekhsitulu

TTD Asthana Nadaswaram group wearing black badges.

Over 9,000 employees of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) on Thursday attended their duties wearing black badges to mark their protest against politicisation of the temple affairs by retired chief priest Dr A V Ramana Deekshitulu.

The three-day long protest began in different temples maintained by the TTD elsewhere also even as Deekhsitulu was in New Delhi contemplating to move the Supreme Court against the government order that limited tenure for Archakas at 65 years of age.

“It is unfortunate that a chief priest who has worked with us for two decades is suddenly finding fault with everything that he was a part of. There were no secret excavations taken place in Sri Vari Potu as it is busy round-the-clock and in the full glare of the devotees,” one of the Potu workers told media outside the temple.

Many saw Deekshitulu’s tirade against the TTD as a nefarious design by few political parties to force the Centre to take over the temple.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who reviewed the situation in Tirumala through real-time governance system, has directed the executive officer (EO) to see that no untoward incident takes place due to unprecedented summer rush. He expressed concern over the near stampede situation near the Galigopuram and asked the officials to streamline the queue system.

On the other hand, the AP wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in a press release took exception of the protest saying that they are liable for punishment. “In the history of the temple never employees wore black badges. This is how the ruling TDP government is politicising the issue,” Ravinutala Sashidhar the VHP spokesperson said. The VHP demanded a CBI enquiry into the allegations made by the retired chief priest.

Meanwhile, a senior Supreme Court advocate Dr D V Rao speaking to media in Amaravati on Thursday said that if a valuable diamond was missing and auctioned in Geneva then both the chief priest and the EO of that time can be arrested.

“Deekhsitulu was the chief priest and IYR Krishna Rao was the EO at the time. Even the Union government that allowed such an auction on a foreign soil is also liable,” Rao said.

He further opined that action cannot be taken on the retirement GOs issued in 1987 and 2012, in the year 2018.