The Banjara Hills police on Thursday lodged cases against minister Danam Nagender and four of his sidekicks after he became embroiled in a public spat with police officials and functionaries of the Swayambhu Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Banjara Hills. Throwing his weight about, he locked up the main gate of the temple, and abused the on-duty sub-inspector.
The minister alleged that the ISKCON-run temple and an adjoining 5-acre piece of land, leased to the Hare Krishna movement, were being used for anti-social activities. He demanded that the lease be cancelled and threatened to have the sub-inspector transferred.
It all started when about 150 residents, mostly supporters of Nagender, of NBT Colony forced their way into the premises where temple functionaries were erecting a pandal for ISKCON’s Janmasthami celebrations. The mob ransacked the temple, damaged the pandal and threw away tulasi plants brought for the pooja while raising slogans against ISKCON. Minutes later, Danam Nagender arrived with his associates.
They locked the main gate of the temple and the minister picked up a quarrel with sub-inspector B Ramesh when the latter’s posse tried to intervene. Nagender also levelled allegations against ISKCON members. ‘’They attempted to rape a minor girl in the locality and the case is still pending in court. The locals have been informing me about the illegal activities going on here in the name of god,’’ he said. Emboldened by the minister’s arrival, local people thrashed a Hare Krishna member.
Asked about the spat, Nagender said, “I won’t hesitate to break the rules for the sake of the people.”
The temple authorities condemned the minister’s behaviour.