Vijayawada: Permission for padayatra denied, pontiffs arrested

Deccan Chronicle.

Nation, Current Affairs

The pontiff has been absconding since the last two days.

Police arrest the swamijis who were trying to conduct padayatra from Vijayawada to Tirupati. (Photo: Ravikiran)

VIJAYAWADA: Tension prevailed around the Saiva Kshetram here ahead of the scheduled padayatra by its pontiff Siva Swamy, after police denied him permission. Police said the pontiff would be arrested if he embarked on the Hindu Dharma Parirakshana padayatra from the city to Tirupati. The pontiff has been absconding since the last two days.

After denying permission to the padayatra, the police arrested many pontiffs from the districts who had turned up at Vijayawada including Anandamaya Saraswati Swamy, Srinivasa Prabhu Swamy, Tyaganandamaya Mata. At about the same time, Dalits staged a dharna in front of the Saiva Kshetram against the pontiff, alleging that he had grabbed their lands. Following heated arguments, Dalits lodged a complaint against Siva Swamy and the police registered a case under the SC, ST Protection Act. Dalit organisations wanted settlement of a deal over six acres of land.

Siva Swamy had previously conducted protests against the appointment of Mr P. Sudhakar Yadav as TTD chairman. On July 16, he tried to stage protests against the comments of actor and film critic Kathi Mahesh on Lord Rama and was placed under house arrest. That day, he announced the padaytra from Vijayawada to Tirupati for the protection of Hindu dharma from Sunday to August 12. Viswa Hindu Parishad Vijayawada president Sana Srinivas condemned the arrest of seers. As per sources, Siva Swamy had gone to Tirupati and was staying itself. It was stated that he would come out of hiding after the case under the SC, ST Act was cleared.