Andhra Police crack Gogunuru temple attack case in 24 hours

Gogunuru (Andhra Pradesh), April 7 (IANS) The police in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district have cracked a temple attack case at Gonuguru village within 24 hours of the incident on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a complaint was filed at the Kuppam Urban police station that some unknown miscreants have destroyed the idols at the Subramanya Swamy temple located on top of a hill.

Chittoor police immediately formed three special teams to investigate the case and followed the leads provided by the temple management, priest and a few locals.

“It was unearthed that Jyothi, a mentally unstable lady who frequently visited the temple, desecrated the idols on March 31 under the influence of toddy,” said a police officer.

Senthil Kumar, the Superintendent of Police (SP) in Chittoor, said the temple is located at a very isolated spot and is rarely visited by the devotees unless it is a special occasion.

He noted that even the temple priest visits it only once a week.

“The temple management, priest and locals voiced their suspicion on a lady who goes by the name Jyothi. She is mentally unstable and frequently visited the temple at odd hours, according to the locals,” said Kumar.

During questioning, Jyothi revealed to the police that she desecrated the idols a week ago after consuming toddy at a local store.

Jyothi told the police that she placed the idols in a ditch 20 metres away from the temple and went back to the village the same day and told people that she had killed Murugan. But the people did not take her seriously owing to her mental condition.

“Murugan is how Subramanya Swamy is referred to locally. The matter was reported after the priest visited the temple on Tuesday,” said the IPS officer.

The southern state has already witnessed umpteen alleged temple attacks in the past few months, sparking wild theories and opportunist political mudslinging.

Irrespective of the government of the day or the political party in power, temple offences occurred in Andhra Pradesh almost every year in the past five years, as per the statistics shared earlier by Director General of Police (DGP) Gautam Sawang.

Under the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government, 163 temple offences were reported in 2015, 139 in 2017, 123 in 2018 and 177 in 2019, when the government transitioned to the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).

In 2020, a year which saw an uproar following the chariot burning at the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in Antarvedi, there were 143 alleged temple offences.

Until January 14 this year, as many as 58,871 religious places have been mapped, while 43,824 CCTV cameras have been installed in 13,089 religious places. As many as 1,635 temple offenders have been rounded up from September 2020 onwards. A total of 15,394 village defence squads have been formed and the numbers are expected to go up.

Meanwhile, TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday deplored the temple attack and called it an extremely sad development.

“Desecration of idols and temple attacks are occurring because of the state government’s laxity. Not just one or two, hundreds of incidents are taking place and it is surprising that the government is ignoring the matter,” he claimed.

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