Andhra helmed by an evangelical Christian CM Jagan Mohan Reddy has been at the receiving end of not just increased Christian missionary activities but also Abrahamic aggression. The Mandir has been embroiled in several controversies in recent times.
Before the controversy regarding the allocation of shops to Muslims with the temple premises ended, another one has erupted with Christian evangelists entering the mandir premises with copies of the Bible. Devotees spotted the evangelists in the “free darshan” queue and informed the mandir authorities regarding the same. It was then that the security personnel checked the bags and found the evangelists carrying the Bible. The Bible was seized and the evangelists were told to leave the premises.
Mohammad Razaq has been made the temple contractor. It has come to light that he has been giving contracts to Muslim shop owners who have been allowed to put up shops within the temple premises. Additionally, there have accusations of temple land having been encroached upon by the Waqf board and other Islamists. Further,
BJP leader and Goshamahal MLA Raja Singh has alleged that Muslims, who have cornered businesses in the temple town, have been harbored by Srisailam MLA Silpa Chakrapani Reddy. He also said that Razaq is a close aide of Reddy and Razaq’s brother is a TDP leader and hence the brothers are able to exercise control over the temple using their influences no matter who is in power.
According to Singh Razaq’s Hindu wife, who is the supervisor of the Gaushala at the temple, has been helping her husband by facilitating the killing of cows for meat consumption. Several cases against Razaq are pending among which is the one where he is said to have transported mutton in flower baskets. These baskets are used for bringing flowers for puja to the temple. Recently gold and other precious items were discovered under a Shiva Linga in Srisailam’s Ganta Matam. This treasure is said to have been taken away by Razaq.
A 2011 State Endowments Commissioner order states that no contracts either of the Devasthanam Temple Complex or any other contract were to be awarded to non-Hindus. However, several Muslims have got contracts violating this order. In 2019 Temple Executive Officer A Ramchandra Murthy was transferred out for supporting Razaq and his brother Rafi who began exercising their authority in the temple’s affairs.
While Muslims have made their way into the administrative setup of the temple, Christian evangelists have been carrying out proselytization in the temple town and premises. Four persons were arrested by the police for reading the Bible at a park close to the Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Mandir in December. They also clicked pictures of themselves reading the Bible at the Rudra Park which is located at a distance of around 1 kilometer from the mandir.
Andhra Pradesh Propagation of other religions in the places of worship or prayer (Prohibition) Act, 2007 prohibits propagation of other religions at the temple and the Nandi Hills in which the temple town is located. One of the four accused named Peter had already been arrested once before for exhibiting the Bible and various religious stickers while riding a bike near the temple.
In 2019 too, a similar incident of Christian evangelists proselytizing using flex banners across the bonnet of a vehicle with verses from the Bible had been reported. The said vehicle even carried a picture of Andhra CM Jagan Reddy’s father YS Rajashekar Reddy who was a Christian by faith.
One of the priests from the temple had said “members of other religions do not have permission to propagate their faith on the hills. If they want to canvas their religion, they can do so at Sunnipenta village and beyond. The hill town is part of the sanctum sanctorum and is sacred”.
It is apparent that the two Abrahamic faiths have been attempting to grab control of the Hindu holy town and mandir which is both a Jyotirling and Shaktipeeth thereby greatly significant for Hindus. The series of frequent attacks on Hindu temples in Andhra, currently under an evangelical Christian CM, is a cause for worry and calls for concerted action by Hindu organizations both within and outside the state.
(Featured Image Source: Srisailamtourism.com)
Did you find this article useful? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.