Jagan Reddy seeks CBI probe into temple chariot burning incident at Antarvedi
BJP state president Somu Veerraju and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan demanded that the government order a judicial inquiry into the incident.Updated: Sep 10, 2020, 22:33 IST
The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday decided to call for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the burning of a 62-year-old chariot on the premises of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Antarvedi in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district.
Antarvedi is one of the most revered Vaishnavite religious centres in Andhra Pradesh at the confluence of Godavari river and the Bay of Bengal. The chariot, made of teakwood and used during the procession of the Lord during the festive seasons, was burnt to ashes in the early hours of Sunday.
The incident triggered widespread protests from Hindu religious groups, seers of various mutts and opposition parties across the state, demanding an inquiry into the incident.
On Thursday, the Bharatiya Janata Party and its alliance partner Jana Sena called for an 11-hour fast in the name of Dharma Parirakshana Deeksha by their respective leaders and cadres. BJP state president Somu Veerraju and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan demanded that the government order a judicial inquiry into the incident.
With pressure mounting from all sides, chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday evening decided to entrust the probe to the CBI. He asked Director General of Police Gautam Sawang to take steps in this regard.
The DGP, in turn, wrote to the Union ministry of home affairs seeking permission for the CBI probe into the Antarvedi chariot burning incident, an official statement from the chief minister’s office said.
“There has been malicious propaganda against the government by certain political forces in the social and mainstream media questioning the sincerity of the state police forces, though they have been going all out to unearth the conspiracy behind the chariot burning,” the CMO release said.
The chief minister has already declared that he was ready to order any kind of inquiry into the incident. “Since some political parties have demanded a CBI probe into the incident, he has decided to entrust the case to the CBI for a transparent inquiry,” the CMO release said.
The Jagan government had already suspended Antarvedi temple’s executive officer NS Chakradhar Rao and a couple of other temple employees for their alleged negligence in the chariot burning incident. It has also transferred special chief secretary (endowments) JSV Prasad after the incident.