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How many more till this ends? Temple vandalism incidents worsen under Jagan’s rule

A series of incidents of vandalisation of Hindu temples in different parts of Andhra Pradesh is snowballing into a major issue with the opposition targeting the Jagan Mohan Reddy government for its inaction and the YSR Congress party openly accusing the Telugu Desam Party of involvement in the incidents.
 
The political slugfest over the matter peaked on Saturday with TDP president and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu visiting the 400-year-old Ramateertham temple in Vizianagaram district, where the idol of Lord Rama was found desecrated on December 28.
 
Accompanied by senior party leaders, Naidu went to the temple atop a hill by foot and inspected the premises. Though the temple was locked up by the time he reached the spot, he interacted with the priests and other officials to get first-hand information.
 
Describing chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy of being a “betrayer of Hindus,” Naidu said in the last 18 months of YSRC regime, there had been 127 incidents of attacks on temples and desecration of idols, hurting the sentiments of Hindu devotees, but not a single culprit was punished till date.
 
 
Similar incidents of vandalism of temples in the state in the last few days have caused a lot of embarrassment to the Jagan government. In the early hours of Friday, the idol of Lord Subrahmanyam Swamy in the temple of Lord Vighneshwara in Rajahmundry was vandalised.
 
On December 22, Lord Krishna temple in Darsi town was desecrated with pieces of animal flesh and blood strewn in the premises. In September, an idol of Nandi in the Lord Shiva temple in Chittoor district was found broken. In the same month, a century-old chariot parked at ancient Antarvedi Lakshmi Narasimha Temple premises in East Godavari district was found burnt in suspicious circumstances.
 
Apart from the TDP, other opposition parties including Bharatiya Janata Party and Jana Sena also lashed out at the YSRCP government for its inaction on the incidents of vandalism in temples.
 
Describing the Ramateertham incident as unfortunate, BJP in-charge of Andhra affairs, Sunil Deodhar, warned that the Jagan government would have to pay a huge price for desecration of temples. “Every attack on temples in the state is testing Hindus’ patience,” he said.
 
Jana Sena Party chief and actor Pawan Kalyan wondered whether Andhra Pradesh had turned into a Pakistan. “We have been hearing about the destruction of temples and desecration of Hindu gods in Pakistan. Now, we are witnessing the same situation in Andhra Pradesh. There have been instances of attacks on temples, desecration of Hindu gods and burning of chariots. Are we in Pakistan?” he asked.
Not only is this a political slugfest but it has also penetrated into people’s lives. Many citizens, though silent, are questioning these acts of vandalism under the current government, which is notorious for mass conversions to Christianity. 
 
On the other hand, political experts point out that these could be YSRCP-BJP understanding to create confusion among people and eventually put TDP in the spot. However, going by the state of affairs in Andhra Pradesh, it feels like all will not end well for Jagan and his party now that religion has become the centre of politics in the state. 

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