[GHHF] Supporters of HDPS were beaten by Simhachalam Temple Authorities in AP
January 25, 2010
“Stand up, be bold, be strong. Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny. All the strength and succor you want is within yourself. Therefore make your own future.” Swami Vivekananda
About two hundred supporters of Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samithi accompanied Sri Kamala Kumar Swami to have darshan of Lord Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Devasthanam, to become aware of the conditions at the Temple and to find out about a number of issues pertaining to the operation of the Temple management, Goshanal (Cow shed), Temple land usage, construction of more than 40 churches on either encroached lands of the Temple or illegally acquired lands, priest salaries, and missionary activities on the Hill.
These devotees were going in a line by chanting slogans such as “Endowment Act must be repealed,’’ Government has no business managing Hindu Temples,” “Hindu Temples belong to Hindus,” “Cows should be protected,” “Missionary activities must be stopped”, “encroached lands must be recovered,” and similar slogans.
Sri Kamal Kumar Swami met with Sri Prem Kumar, Executive Officer (EO) of Simhachalam Temple and asked him about the following questions:
1) When does the Temple will recover 3,000 acres that were allowed to be either encroached or illegally sold?
2) Recently the Temple acquired the lands from the tribal’s that were using these Temple lands for their residence for many, many years. When you can remove their houses and recover their lands, what efforts are you making to acquire 3.000 acres occupied by churches?
3) It appears that 47 churches were built on these 3,000 acres land. What are the plans for the Temple and EO to vacate the lands and remove the structures?
4) Why do the Temples are taken over by the government? These Temples belong to Hindus and they should be given back to Hindus?
5) Recently a number of newspapers have reported about the death of cows in the Goshala being operated by Devasthanam. Why is it that many cows are dead when they are in the custody of Temple authorities? How are they fed and treated? Is there a veterinary doctor to look after these cows? What is the budget to maintain these cows?
6) What about the salaries of the priests? Are they being paid on a regular basis?
7) Government audit raised a number of concerns about the use of nearly 80 crores of Temple funds under your management? What is the status of the questionable use of these funds?
The supporter also wanted to know the answers to these and other questions. Since the Temple authorities were not able to provide adequate response to these questions, they got irritated and became angry. Then they started abusing the devotees using filthy language.
The Temple authorities stated that these devotees can’t enter the Temple with Omkara flags and chanting slogans. These devotees were stopped about 500 feet away from the main gate (Rajagopuram). Devotees said they will stop at the main gate and also said they are very much aware of maintaining the sanctity and purity of the Temple. They have no problem of observing the rules and the guidelines of the Temple.
The authorities did not like their response and started lathi charge. A number of Temple employees, Temple security force and shop keepers (who depend on government for their contract to do business) started beating mercilessly the defenseless and unarmed devotees with lathis. A number of devotees were injured, some were bleeding, two of them were admitted in the hospital and two others were arrested and later released.
This incident was covered in a number of TV stations and print media. Three Telugu newspapers such as Enaadu, Andhra Bhumi, and Andhra Jyothy have covered the incident.
Please read below the news coverage by two English newspapers. You can grasp the gravity of the situation based on these write-ups.
The Hindu, January 26, 2010
Clash on temple premises
VISAKHAPATNAM: Supporters of Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti and staff of Simhachalam Devasthanam clashed with each other on Monday morning. A man said to be supporter of the samiti was taken into custody later.
The Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti supporters, led by its president Kamala Kumar, reached the temple by climbing the steps and when they were about to enter the temple, Executive Officer Prem Kumar had allegedly stopped them near the parking place and wanted them not to carry the flags inside and not to raise slogans when they were on the temple premises. The reason for the clash was not known but the argument between the EO and the supporters of the samiti turned into a clash, as both sides allegedly exchanged blows and beat each other with sticks. The samiti wanted the EO to explain why salaries were not being paid to some staff members and some priests. The EO had initially turned down the demand and asked the members to have a darshan first. Soon after the clash, supporters of the samiti dispersed and Mr. Kamala Kumar, who went inside to have a darshan, was stopped by the temple staff. Mr. Kamala Kumar said the people who came along with him to the temple were different from those who attended a meeting at the foothill earlier.
Mr. Prem Kumar said that it was a conspiracy hatched by some real estate businessmen and a priest of the temple because very recently the Devasthanam had retrieved land worth several crores of rupees.
Published on Deccan Chronicle (http://www.deccanchronicle.com)
Seer disciples clash with temple staff
By By Our Correspondent
Jan 26 2010
Visakhapatnam, Jan. 25: A clash broke between Simhachalam temple employees and disciples of Kamal Kumar Swamiji of AP Temple Parirakshana Committee here on Monday. They clashed with lathis and exchanged filthy abuses. One person with severe injuries was shifted to hospital and the Gopalapatnam police arrested a disciple of the Swamiji.
The Swamiji along with his disciples from Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari wanted to enter the temple to study illegal structures and activities of Christian missionaries. They were marching towards the temple raising slogans when the executive officer, Mr P. Prem Kumar, accosted them at the information centre.
While the Swamiji was arguing with the executive officer, his disciples raised slogans against the temple officials. When the Swami asked permission to enter the temple, the EO asked him to stop slogans and wind up their flags.
His followers got enraged and charged the EO why saffron flags would not be allowed inside the temple. Heated arguments ensued and one of the disciples of the Swami attacked the EO.
The incident drew the attention of the local traders, security staff and the employees who came in large numbers and chased the disciples out of the temple. While running away from the temple, some of the disciples of the Swami sustained injuries. The employees in the process tore away the beeds necklace of the Swami.
The police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control.
One of the disciples K. Satyanarayana of Kakinada was taken into custody.
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