The demolition of five temples in the One Town area of the city has snowballed into a major controversy, forcing the TDP government to beat a hasty retreat and announce that the demolished structures would be rebuilt.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party has protested the demolitions, the religious trusts have made it clear that they will not extend any cooperation to the government during Krishna Pushkaram if it does not retrace its steps.
Sensing the angry mood, the government on Sunday morning constituted a committee consisting of five Ministers which promptly announced that all the demolished temples would be re-built. The committee also resolved not to disturb any other temple even by an inch.
Addressing media persons after an urgent meeting, Endowments Minister P. Manikyala Rao said there was no intention to dismantle the famous Vinayaka temple on Canal Road or the Sri Vijayeswara Swamy temple at Kanaka Durga Nagar. The Minister admitted that the manner in which the historic Seethammavari Padalu, Saneeswara Swamy and Dakshina Mukha Anjaneya Swamy and two other temples in close proximity were razed to the ground had hurt people’s sentiments.
The committee decided to rebuild those temples at their original locations in such a way that movement of traffic is not obstructed.
‘Officials to blame’
Mr. Rao said, “The proposed demolition of temples should have been duly notified and discussed with the respective trusts or committees but that did not happen as the officials concerned acted in haste without pondering over the consequences.”
Agriculture Minister Prathipati Pulla Rao said the intention behind demolishing the temples was to widen roads for the pushkaram but there was apparently negligence on the part of officials. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has since ordered that the demolished temples should be restored and better structures built at the same places in deference to wishes of people.
The Hindu Dharma Parirakshana Samithi said no Hindu charitable institution would extend cooperation for the pushkarams.
Earlier in the day, tension prevailed at the Gosala as BJP and TDP activists entered into heated arguments attributing motives to each other.
The unrest was triggered by the presence of TDP MLC Buddha Venkanna, who said it was the handiwork of a former MLA who spread rumours that the Vinayaka and Vijayeswara Swamy temples would also be brought down.