Attacks on Temples continue in Andhra Pradesh; Century-old wooden chariot of Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple set on fire in East Godavari district

In a shocking incident, a chariot of the famed Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Antarvedi town in East Godavari district was burnt by reduced to ashes early Sunday morning. This is the last one among those series of incidents in the year in which Hindu temples are widely vandalised by miscreants in the state.

The chariot which was made in strict adherence to the principles of Agama Sastra, was made of teakwood by a devotee for the use of taking the Lord’s idols in procession during Kalyanotsavam. The devotees had to stand as mere witnesses to see the chariot turning into a handful of ashes, revealed sources.

As per reports, there is mystery surrounding the incident. While authorities first said it is ‘short-circuit’ that caused the fire, experts point out that the portion where the chariot was kept was devoid of any electric wire or circuit. According to authorities, the CCTV cameras were out of service for the last six months.

Antarvedi, one of the famous pilgrim centres in Andhra Pradesh witnessed a massive outrage of people who gathered learning about the incident. Devotees, locals and activists of religious groups under the leadership of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) staged protests against the officials.

Seer of Visakhapatnam Sri Sarada Peetham, Swaroopanandendra Saraswati, described the fire mishap as unfortunate. He said it a matter of sentiment for Hindus. He demanded a serious probe to identify the reason for the mishap and punish the guilty.

Andhra Pradesh Sadhu Parishad leader Srinivas Anantha Swamy said similar incident of burning of chariot had taken place in K Bitragunta of Chittoor district earlier and the government hushed it up as a deed of mentally unsound persons.

Talking to the Indus Scrolls, Vishwa Hindu Parishad activist Ravi Tanikella, who led the protest said that a CBI investigation alone would solve the mystery of continuing attacks on Hindu Temples in the state. He urged the union government swift actions so that at least the remaining temples in the state could be saved.

Antarvedi is one of the famous pilgrim centres in Andhra Pradesh. Locals saw the chariot burning around 1am. They alerted the police and fire office. By the time fire tenders reached, the chariot was completely gutted.