Non-Hindus will have to sign declaration at Tirumala

Published May 21, 2014, 10:47 am IST
Updated Apr 1, 2019, 6:50 am IST
Sri Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala (Photo: DC archives)
 Sri Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala (Photo: DC archives)

Tirumala: Months after the visit of YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy stirred up a major controversy by refusing to sign the mandatory declaration form for non-Hindus, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams has been instructed to enforce the declaration for non-Hindus without fail.

On March 2 this year,  Mr Jagan Mohan  Reddy visited the Tirumala temple and refused to sign the declaration for non-Hindus and offered prayers to Lord Venkateswara. Though a big hue and cry was raised from various quarters then, no remedial action was put in place owing to the election season.

However, now that elections are over, Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan has passed a GO instructing the temple administration that the declaration for non-Hindus is mandatory and to ensure that it is enforced without any bias.

He has instructed TTD senior officials to caution VIPs, politicians and prominent persons from other faiths visiting Tirumala about the mandatory declaration and to get their signatures without fail before they enter the temple.

Though the decision is a welcome one, there is a lot of ambiguity when it comes to implementing it. This is more so because of the close to 50,000 people visiting the Tirumala hill shrine every day — which even crosses the one-lakh mark during holidays and festivals.

Most of the devotees opt for the “Sarva Darshan” mode wherein they are never asked for their ID cards. The issuance of tickets to devotees under the “Divya Darshan” and the Rs 300 special darshan mode are not any different. But when it comes to Arjitha Sevas and the VIP darshan — reserved for politicians, industrialists and other prominent people — every single devotee has to show their ID cards before entering the Vaikuntam Q complex. Their names are also printed on their tickets which help the temple administration easily identify them.

While there are a few thousand VIP darshan and Arjitha Sevas tickets issued on any given day, there are thousands of devotees who opt for general darshan and there is absolutely no mechanism for differentiating between non-Hindus from the Hindus. While the TTD has announced that it will implement the instructions, it looks impossible with the current arrangements.

Meanwhile, The race has already begun within the Telugu Desam for the most coveted nominated post — that of the TTD Trust Board chairman. Senior leaders of the TD and those on Mr Naidu’s “very close” are learnt to have begun playing their cards to bag the chairmanship even before the swearing-in ceremony of the TD supremo himself.

Even as Mr Naidu made his agenda very clear in terms of cleansing the ‘prevailing system’ in the TTD by bringing in reforms, the person to whom he would entrust the TTD’s mantle has become the ‘hot topic’ of the temple town.

The name of M. Murali Mohan, who successfully won the Rajahmundry Parliamentary seat, has popped up. Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, who switched from Congress to TD, is also learnt to be in the race. The veteran leader from Guntur had unsuccessfully lobbied for the post for close to a decade during the Congress’ tenure.

Former Tirupati MLA, Chadalawada Krishnamurthy, who was denied the Tirupati Assembly ticket to accommodate former Congress MLA M. Venkataramana, too is banking on the party’s which assured him of the post in the run up to the polls.

Location: Andhra Pradesh


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