Allegations of a ‘tantrik pooja’ at the famous Lord Siva temple in Srikalahasti in the Chittoor district has triggered a major row in Andhra Pradesh. The pooja was allegedly done by four Tamil Nadu residents at the holy shrine on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday.
Police are currently questioning the four who had performed the pooja along with the Assistant Executive Officer of the temple. The AEO, Dhanapal had allegedly allowed the four into the temple premises to perform the pooja.
Andhra Pradesh Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivas ordered an inquiry into the incident and the AEO’s role in it. The ministry further directed the endowments department secretary to submit a report regarding the allegations within 24 hours.
The police were tipped off about a suspicious pooja being conducted in the wee hours of 27 November by nearby residents of the Vedam village. The villagers found suspicious activities being done at the temple on the ‘Amavasya’ or new moon night, which is considered auspicious for tantric poojas. The deity is believed to be powerful and possessing magical powers.
Once the police reached the location, they caught the four people conducting the pooja and questioned them. The individuals in question then revealed that the AEO Dhanpal had let them inside the premises for conducting their rituals. Police stated that they didn’t find traces of a human or animal sacrifice on the premises.
This is not the first time that the Assistant Executive Officer Dhanpal is facing similar charges. Just last year, he was suspended for allowing unknown people into the premises to conduct pooja in the middle of the night. Further, the higher officials found that money, sarees and dhotis that the pilgrims gifted to the temple deity were missing too. The AEO was suspended in connection with the case in 2018.
Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivas stated that strict action will be taken against miscreants in connection with the alleged tantrik pooja and ordered that the reports be submitted within 24 hours.