TTD under flak for complaining against devotees

TTD under flak for complaining against devotees

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) administration’s decision to slap cases on devotees who raised slogans and staged dharna in front of its chairman’s office on the eve of “Vaikunta Ekadasi” drew flak not only from common pilgrims but also from opposition political parties in Andhra Pradesh. 

As per the instructions of TTD Executive Officer M G Gopal, Acting Vigilance Officer Gopal Reddy had filed a complaint on unidentified devotees at two town police stations on Tirumala hills. 

The police registered a case under Section 341 for obstructing traffic and organising a “rasta roko” on the hills. Police have identified several devotees after verifying CCTV camera footage. 

“As per law, no protests are allowed on the seven hills. It is our responsibility to stop such activity and we have decided to go against those who created ruckus on that day,” Gopal said. However, on Thursday evening it withdrew the cases as pressure mounted from all sides, including TTD Chairman Kanumuri Bapiraju. Sources said many of the protesters belonged to West Godavari district, the district of Bapiraju.

On the day of Vaikunta Ekadasi, due to heavy rush, the waiting hours prolonged and the queues stretched beyond four km. Devotees resorted to sloganeering and dharna. 

They questioned the issuance of over 9,000 “darshan passes” to the VIPs who thronged the hill town in large numbers and the allocation of six hours of darshan time to them. This had reduced the darshan time for pilgrims and also cancellation of darshan to women with children and the aged.
“The VIP darshan passes were sold on the black market at a mind-boggling price of Rs 10, 000 against the normal price of Rs 1, 000. Several business magnates were seen in the queues which were exclusively earmarked for VIPs who come under protocol category,” actor Sivaji, who is batting for the common pilgrim, alleged.

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