Tirupati controversy: Hindu organisations say former priest backed by evangelists to malign trust's image
A day after the former priest of Tirumala temple A V Ramana Deekshitulu held a press conference in Hyderabad and levelled allegations against TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams) administration, some Brahmin and Hindu organizations have questioned the presence of Borugadda Anil, a Christian and a member of the Republican Party of India, at the press conference.
Anil is the founder of evangelical group Simon Amrut Foundation which also works with Anil Kumar, brother-in-law of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. Borugadda Anil was present at the media conference that Deekshitulu addressed Wednesday in Hyderabad.
On Thursday, Deekshitulu claimed that Anil offered to help him file a court case against TTD. “As he offered help, I invited him to sit with me. I do not know who he is and what his activities are or his political connections,” Deekshitulu said.
Meanwhile, Anil claimed that he was neither an evangelist nor a preacher. “Deekshitulu has been slapped with a Rs 100 crore defamation notice by TTD. He is fighting against corruption in TTD and I wanted to offer help that is why I went to meet him,” Anil said, denying that he was not there at the behest of any political party.
65-year-old Deekshitulu was sacked on May 18 by the TTD citing rules that all priests have to retire at the age of 65. Deekshitulu was replaced by Venugopal Deekshitulu, who belongs to Ramana Deekshitulu’s family. Ramana Deekshitulu’s three sons are also priests in Lord Balaji temple at Tirumala. Two days after he was forcibly retired, Ramana held a press conference at Chennai and leveled serious allegations against the TTD.
“The sacred kitchen known as Srivari Potu where ‘prasadam’ for Lord Balaji is prepared was dug up on the orders of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu as they thought there was treasure buried there. The scriptures strictly forbid closing the sacred kitchen and ‘prasadam’ cannot be prepared at any other place but they closed the kitchen for a few days. Some of the ‘sevas’ to Lord Balaji are also not being performed as per the scriptures. TTD officials are hiding the fact that some of the jewelry is missing from the vaults,” Ramana Deekshitulu alleged on Thursday. When asked why he did not speak out when he was the chief priest, Ramana Deekshitulu said he was afraid at that time.
The chief of Hindu Dharma Parirakshana Samiti D Srinivas said that Ramana Deekshitulu is being backed by Christian organizations.
“Till now, everyone wondered who is backing Ramana Deekshitulu in making such bold statements and how he got the money to travel everywhere and organize media conferences. The presence of B Anil with him clear that he is being backed by the evangelist organizations to defame the TTD by making wild allegations,” he said.
The TTD Brahmin Association also issued a statement accusing Deekshitulu of maligning the TTD at the behest of Christian organisations.