TIRUPATI: The pro-Christian advertisement on Tirumala Tirupati bus tickets has triggered a political dispute in the state, with BJP leaders who have been critical of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy claiming that he was a non-Hindu, launched an attack on him by alleging that he was pushing his agenda for minority religions.
It may be recalled that on Thursday, the pilgrim passengers were given bus tickets at Tirumala, on the back of which details about Haj and Holy Jerusalem Yatra and other facilities being given to Christians and Muslims were printed.
According to the officials, the advertisement on the ticket was issued by the state’s Department of Minority Welfare on March 5, 2019 in which it referred to a purchase order dated June 4, 2018. In this, it was decided that ads of the Minorities Welfare department of the state government will be printed on 60,000 rolls. These were to be supplied to the Nellore and Kadapa zones of the APSRTC.
The advertisement spoke about a holy Jerusalem tour for Christians in the state, with less cost and all facilities provided. In another set of tickets issued to passengers to Tirupati, there were advertisements for the state’s annual Haj pilgrimage offered to Muslims.
However, as soon as some pilgrims brought the ads to the notice of APSRTC authorities, the officials clarified that some tickets carrying advertisements of pilgrimage of other religions reached Tirumala by mistake and they were immediately withdrawn. Sources said that the bundle was supplied only on the morning of August 22 and was not meant for Tirumala.
Though the RTC officials tried to cover it up as a mistake, the BJP leaders alleged that it was negligence on part of the RTC and the state government. Taking a serious note of this, the BJP leaders in the state immediately launched an attack on the ruling party, alleging that the state government was working against the Hindus and hurting their sentiments.
Former TTD Trust Board member and party leader G. Bhanu Prakash Reddy and others also staged a protest at the office of the APSRTC Regional Manager in Tirupati on Friday. “The state government should act responsibly on the issue and take stringent action against those responsible. If the government tries to dilute the case, Srivari devotees across the state will join hands and come together to stage a protest to protect the sanctity of Tirumala,” Mr Bhanu Prakash said....