Police harassing TDP cadres in temple attack case: Naidu

Amaravati, April 8 (IANS) Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo and former chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu wrote to Andhra Pradesh director general of police (DGP) Gautam Sawang alleging that police are harassing the opposition party cadres in the latest temple attack case.

Naidu alleged that instead of arresting the culprits involved in the desecration of Subramanya Swamy temple at Petagunta village in Gonuguru gram panchayt, 40 TDP leaders have been picked up by the police.

“Police instead of arresting the culprits are harassing opposition TDP leaders for seeking justice. On Tuesday evening, police had lifted 40 leaders from TDP and moved them from one police station to another without even giving them food,” claimed Naidu on Wednesday.

According to the TDP chief, only late in the night did police serve a notice under section 160, even as all the 40 belong to four villages who command respect, including some of them working as sarpanches earlier.

He highlighted that some of the rounded up cadres are contesting the MPTC polls.

“While such notice itself is ridiculous, registration of cases against TDP leaders under FIR No. 69/2021, Kuppam police station is risible. Additionally, TDP leaders who came to the police station to apprise the police about the gruesome happenings were also booked in the above case,” he claimed.

He alleged that Satyendra Sekhar, former AMC director, Raj Kumar, Kuppam urban TDP president and Kanipakam Vekatesh were also taken away by the police.

Naidu claimed that such filing of cases against opposition party leaders is reminiscent of the colonial raj.

“This action by the police is only illustrative of political vendetta being pursued by the ruling YSRC in connivance with a section of police,” claimed the former chief minister.

He appealed to Sawang to unilaterally remove the alleged false cases against TDP leaders and strive to nab the ‘real’ culprits.

Naidu also demanded an inquiry against those police personnel who allegedly acted highhandedly against the TDP cadres.

Meanwhile, the TDP national president alleged that ever since June 2019, increased attacks are occurring on religious places in the southern state.

“It appears that the miscreants and anti-social elements are encouraged by the lukewarm response from the government with regard to temple attacks,” Naidu alleged, referring to the Pentagunta incident.

Pentagunta incident was cracked by police within 24 hours, with the identification of a drunk mentally unstable woman indulging in the desecration of idols.

However, irrespective of the government of the day or the political party in power, temple offences occurred in Andhra Pradesh almost every year in the past five years, as per the statistics shared earlier by Director General of Police (DGP) Gautam Sawang.

Under the TDP government, 163 temple offences were reported in 2015, 139 in 2017, 123 in 2018 and 177 in 2019, when the government transitioned to the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).

In 2020, a year which saw an uproar following the chariot burning at the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in Antarvedi, there were 143 alleged temple offences.

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