Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams seeks legal opinion on chief priest Ramana Dikshitulu

Venugopala Dikshitulu, who has been selected for the position, is a relative of the head priest and belongs to one of the four families that follow a hereditary system of priesthood in Tirumala.

Published: 18th May 2018 06:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th May 2018 10:04 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

TIRUPATI/VIJAYAWADA: The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Board of Trustees which has decided to set 65 years as the retirement age for priests on Thursday chose an archaka to replace 70-year-old head priest AV Ramana Dikshitulu who blew the whistle on alleged corruption in the TTD a few days back.

Venugopala Dikshitulu, who has been selected for the position, is a relative of the head priest and belongs to one of the four families that follow a hereditary system of priesthood in Tirumala.

The TTD is currently looking into legal options for easing out priests above the age of 65 years and may issue a show-cause notice to Ramana Dikshitulu for his "derogatory" remarks. The head priest on Tuesday openly revolted against the temple body accusing it of being mired in corruption.

The board’s decision has snowballed into a political controversy, with leaders of the ruling party and opposition parties levelling allegations and counter-allegations against each other over political motives behind the decision.

Taking serious exception to Ramana Dikshitulu's comments against the TTD, Deputy Chief Minister KE Krishnamurthy directed officials to initiate disciplinary action against him. Krishnamurthy, who is also the in-charge Endowments Minister, said it was unbecoming of the chief priest to call a press conference violating the guidelines of the temple. He recalled that the head priest himself had admitted all ornaments of the Lord were safe in 1996 when the Mirasi (hereditary) system was abolished.

The TTD conducts audits every year and the affairs of the religious institution is administered by the financial adviser and three IAS officials, the minister said and added that the government would not tolerate any attempt to tarnish the image of the Sri Venkateswara Temple.

"Those trying to belittle the age-old traditions of the Tirumala Temple will have to be ready to face the wrath. We all know what happened to those who argued that three hills were enough for Lord Venkateswara in place of seven,'' he said

Hitting out at the TTD, BJP MLC Somu Veerraju observed that the board was taking decisions against Hindu dharma and went on to claim that the TTD administration required cleansing.

"The state government has completely derailed Hindu dharma through its administration in Tirumala. The recent developments mirror the irregularities in the TTD," he claimed.

Former TTD board chairman and YSRC senior leader Bhumana Karunakar Reddy questioned the decision of the TTD governing council -- which he claimed was teeming with Naidu’s sycophants -- and said the Chief Minister was using religious places for settling political scores.

“The Governing Council has no right to set a retirement age for priests. Only four families have been conducting pujas and other services for generations. The 2,000-year-old practice is endorsed by various religious heads," he said. The politico said the government was trying to get rid of Ramana Dikshitulu so that he wouldn't spill any more beans.

“Don't you see? The TTD Board has so far not responded to any of the charges levelled by Ramana Dikshitulu. Their ploy is to remove him,” he alleged.

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  • CVR Murthy

    It is an unfortunate incident. The TTD must be handed over religious heads / selfless devotees rather than being controlled by politicians/govt. who are interested only for their selfish goals.
    7 days ago reply
  • Jayasankar

    Yes TTD is corrupt ridden and It should be independent body under Jeeyar not under State Govt . Same is the case of HR&CE of TN which is most corrupt in the world. Why Churches and Mosques are not under govt and govt appointed ?. All Hindus of AP should come together and fight against evil called Politicians who control temples. Hindus all over India Should Unite now and fight
    8 days ago reply
IPL2018