There have been two more instances of desecration of murtis in Andhra Pradesh. After the incidents of 3 January in Vijayawada, Director General of Police (DGP) D Gautam Sawang has sounded an alert across the state.
In the series of attacks on murtis in Hindu temples is one instance where miscreants vandalised a murti of deity Sita at the Pandit Nehru Bus Station.
- 14.11.2019: Durga temple in Guntur
- 21.01.2020: Hanuman temple in Pithapuram
- 11.02.2020: Venugopala swami temple in Rompicherla
- 13.02.2020: The main entrance of a temple in Undrajavaram
- 14.02.2020: The Chariot of Lord Balaji was burnt in Bitragunta (Nellore Dist)
- 06.09.2020: The Chariot of Lakshmi Nrisimha swami burnt in Antarvedi
- 13.09.2020: The Silver Lions from the Chariot of Goddess Durga were stolen
- 15.09.2020: The murti of Saibaba was damaged in Nidamanur (Krishna Dist)
- 16.09.2020: Hanuman murti was damaged in Eleswaram
- 16.09.2020: Goddess’s murtis were damaged near Gundlapadu in Guntur Dist
- 17.09.2020: Nandi murti was damaged in Makkapet (Krishna Dist)
- 19.09.2020: Murtis of Lord Shiva were damaged in Chintapalli (Visakhapatnam Dist)
- 20.09.2020: Photo frames of Lord Ayyappa were damaged near Narasapuram (West Godavari Dist)
- 23.09.2020: Hanuman murti was damaged in Pathikonda (Kurnool Dist)
- 25.09.2020: Hanuman murti was damaged near Naidu pet (Nellore Dist)
- 05.10.2020: Nrisimha swami murti was damaged near Mantralayam (Kurnool Dist)
- 06.10.2020: Hanuman murti was damaged in Adoni (Kurnool Dist)
- 06.10.2020: Goddess Saraswati murti was damaged in Narasarao pet (Guntur Dist)
- 17.10.2020 – The main entrance of Sri Veerabhadra swami temple was damaged I Tarlapadu
- Hanuman murti was damaged near Yanam (East Godavari Dist)
- Lord Shri Rama murti was damaged in Vizianagaram
- Karthikeya murti was damaged in Rajahmundry
- 03.01.2021: Sita murti desecrated at Sivalayam at Vuyyuru, outskirts of Vijayawada
In another instance, a murti of Ketu (a vigraha) was vandalised at the Sivalayam at Vuyyuru on the outskirts of Vijayawada.
A priest found the clay murti of Sita broken in the morning. Strangely, the temple door was locked. The priest then informed officials of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) who duly passed the message to the police at the Krishna Lanka police station.
Commissioner of Police Bathini Srinivasulu said that a special team had been formed to examine the CCTV footage to identify the miscreants. The temple police have booked cases under Sections 448, 427, 295 and 153 (a) if the IPC against unknown persons. A large number of people associated with the TDP, BJP and VHP gathered at the bus station and protested against the vandalisation of the murti.
The attack comes after the vandalism of a Lord Ram at Ramatheertham temple was reported on 1 January.
After the latest attack, the State DGP Sawang directed DIGs, Commissioners, Superintendents of Police, Deputy SPs and the Station House Officers (SHOs) to step up vigil at temples, media reported.
Patrolling by police will be stepped up to monitor the movement of strangers at shrines. Police will arrange CCTV cameras at all places of worship immediately, stated the DGP on 3 January.
The DGP said, “Miscreants are trying to disturb the peace and create a law and order problem in Andhra Pradesh.” The officer assured that the police are making efforts to identify those who are attacking temples and damaging murtis.
The DGP said that in 2020, about 228 cases of attacks on temples had been registered in Andhra Pradesh, compared to 305 cases in 2019, 267 in 2018, 318 in 2017, 332 in 2016 and 290 in 2015.
The DGP urged community leaders, members of Grama Rakshaka Dalams, temple trust board managements and families that have taken care of small shrines to cooperate with the police. The DGP requested the locals to dial 100 if any suspicious persons were found moving in villages.
Andhra Pradesh Police has detained over about 8,250 people who have had histories of similar offences in the past six years. The DGP urged the public to not be swayed by rumours and help maintain law and order.