Protests in Chicago against Andhra chief minister
Around 300 people held a peaceful protest during Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy's visit to Chicago against what they called his anti-temples policies in Andhra Pradesh.
The protestors gathered outside the Rosemont Convention Centre where Reddy was given a reception by the Telugu Association of North America (TANA), the American Telugu Association and some local Telugu groups, and attended by over 800 people.
The protest - called 'Awareness campaign to save temples' - was organised by the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) of the US. The campaign flier alleges misappropriation of temple moneys, particularly of Tirupati-Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD), and demands repeal of the Hindu Endowment Act.
The GHHF website says they have set up the Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti in Hyderabad late last year and plan to challenge the Endowment Act in a high court and the Supreme Court.
Reddy met representatives from the protesting group and agreed to look into their demands, said a spokesperson for the campaign.
At the reception, Reddy talked about the progress made in Andhra Pradesh in agriculture and IT, and promised incentives like land at subsidised rates to the non-resident Telugus in the US, asking them to contribute for the all-round development of the state, according to TANA official Hema Prasad Yadla.
Reddy on Tuesday addressed the World Agricultural Forum's 2007 World Congress in St Louis, Missouri - the main purpose of his four-day visit to the US. The theme of the conference was 'Creating Prosperity Through Investments in Agriculture' and he highlighted his government's initiatives to boost agriculture in Andhra Pradesh.
The chief minister was accompanied by his ministers for agriculture, IT and major industries, as well as his wife, daughter and grandchildren.