Andhra BJP president arrested, several under house arrest on way to ‘Dharma Yatra’
The police in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district on Tuesday arrested Bharatiya Janata Party state unit president Somu Veerraju and placed several other BJP leaders under house arrest to prevent them from taking out “Dharma Yatra” to Ramatirtham temple to protest against desecration of Lord Rama idol by some unknown miscreants last week.
Veerraju was taken into custody as he arrived at Ramatirtham in the morning to take out a rally of party workers to the temple, stating that Section 30 of the Police Act was in force in the area. He was shifted to Nellimarla police station.
Several BJP workers, along with those of Jana Sena Party, squatted on the road in protest against the BJP president’s arrest. “We had given the call for Dharma Yatra well in advance and obtained police permission. But after coming to the temple, they are arresting me,” Veerraju told reporters before the arrest.
He alleged that the police, who had permitted the YSR Congress party and Telugu Desam Party leaders to visit the temple on Saturday, were now obstructing the BJP and Jana Sena leaders only on political grounds.
Earlier, the police placed several BJP leaders in the house arrest in Visakhapatnam and other parts of the state. BJP parliamentarian CM Ramesh and former state minister Kamineni Srinivas were locked up inside the party office in Visakhapatnam.
Former Andhra BJP president Kanna Lakshminarayana, former MLA P Vishnukumar Raju and official spokesperson Suhasini Anand were among 25 BJP leaders who were kept under house arrest.
Chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who ordered a comprehensive probe by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of police into the incidents of alleged vandalization of temples and desecration of idols of various deities, asked the police authorities not to spare anybody found guilty.
Addressing the police officials through video conference on Tuesday, Jagan described the systematic attacks on temples in the last few months as political guerrilla warfare, aimed at maligning his government which was launching a series of welfare programmes.
“These incidents have been taking place after midnight in temples located in isolated areas. Within hours, the pictures and reports are surfacing on social media and a section of media was giving massive and repeated publicity to these incidents. Subsequently, the opposition parties are making a lot of hue and cry,” Jagan alleged.
He asked the police to inquire into such incidents deeply and deal with such incidents strongly. “Those indulging in such acts should be named and shamed,” he ordered.
Meanwhile, prominent Vaishnavaite Hindu seer Chinna Jeeyar Swamy announced that he would take up a state-wide tour from January 17 to enlighten the people about the systematic destruction of temples and desecration of idols across the state.
He said he would visit all temples which were vandalised and mobilise public opinion on what to do. He would also meet all the religious elders to find out a solution to such barbaric acts. “It is unfortunate that the Hindu dharma is facing such an unprecedented crisis in Andhra Pradesh,” he said.