The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Planned attempt in Tirupathi by evangelists to defile the great holy shrine

Startling revelation by the fact-finding committee Congress patronage suspected
From Our Special Correspondent

His Holiness Sri Vishwesha Teertha of Pejawar Mutt, Udipi, requested Justice G. Bikshapathy, Justice K.B. Siddappa, former Judges of Andhra Pradesh High Court, Shri T.S. Rao, former Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh, Dr. P. Geervani, former Vice-Chancellor of Padmavathi Mahila Vishwavidyalaya and Dr R. Srihari, former Vice-Chancellor of Dravidian University, Kuppam, to function as a fact-finding committee under the chairmanship of Justice G. Bikshapathy to ascertain the factual position as regards the activities of non-Hindu religious communities in Tirumala and Tirupathi.

Many people from Christian and Muslim communities were being employed in the TTD and some of the Hindu employees were even converted as Christians and they practice Christianity. About 40 families in Balaji Colony are Christians. They hold congregations and prayers on Sundays.

Only Hindus are to be appointed as employees in the TTD under the rule. However, the EO stated that for some period this was not followed with the result that some Muslim personnel came to be appointed. He further stated that steps are being taken to shift them to some other places gradually. Some employees in the TTD also profess Christianity and that in the police quarters also congregations and prayers are conducted regularly.

Discontinued the practice of garlanding the portraits of Lord Venkateswara and Goddess Padmavathi everyday. Instead she kept a portrait of Jesus Christ and the Cross on her office table. She sends batches of students in the university buses to the church. It is also stated that in the Mahila University, the students are not allowed to have tilak on the forehead now-a-days and that students putting tilak are being discriminated.

Cow slaughter is taking place in down hill at Tirupathi near D.R. Mahal. The meat is being transported to Tirumala clandestinely. TTD Kalyana Mandapam at Nagalapuram is being used by the Christians for their prayer congregations and for performance of Christian marriages. Near Sree Rama and Siva Temple in Tirupathi, Christian prayers and propaganda take place by intercepting the Hindu devotees visiting the temples.

Sri Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji of the Pejawar Mutt in response to startling disclosures of the planned evangelist activities in the holy Tirupathi temple premises announced that the leaders of Hindu mutts would meet in the temple complex on July 15 to discuss the activities of Christian missionaries, including attempts to convert Hindus in Tirumala and Tirupathi.

The Swami said it was disturbing that Christian missionaries had selected these places to carry out conversions. “We will meet in Hyderabad on July 11 and then in Tirupathi on July 15 to chalk out our course of action,” he said. He was speaking after receiving a report from a fact-finding committee on this issue and sent by him to Tirupathi. The committee visited Tirumala and Tirupathi last month and held meetings with people there before preparing the report.

“As a Hindu saint, I am worried about the conversion activity taking place there, which was why I constituted the committee to look into the matter,” he said.

Shri D. Bheemasena Rao, the convenor of the Tirumala Tirupathi Samrakshana Samiti, said the July 15 meeting is likely to chalk out a mass awareness programme against conversion. Retired Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police, Shri T.S. Rao, who was a member of the fact-finding committee, said that 15 to 20 families in Tirumala have been converted in the past two years. He alleged that the vice-chancellors of the Padmavathi and Venkateshwara universities were using coercive methods to convert students to Christianity. “During public interactions, we were told that students who had enrolled for PhDs were being pressurised to convert. They have even been told that they would not get their doctorate unless they converted,” he added.

Dravida University’s former Vice-Chancellor Dr R. Srihari maintained that Christian missionaries had chosen some important places of worship in Andhra Pradesh as part of their strategy, which was why they had moved to Tirumala and Tirupathi for this exercise.

The following is the full text of the high-level committee’s report:

The Committee found that members of the Christian community distributed religious pamphlets and copies of the Bible to the students who were returning after writing the EAMCET examinations conducted at various centres in Tirupathi in May 2006. Apart from other persons, who deposed before the Committee, this information was also disclosed by the son of Shri Prabhakara Acharya, Secretary of Vaikhanasa Ashram at Tirumala, who appeared for the EAMCET examinations. This activity of the Christians led to serious tense situation in Tirupathi. It was also revealed to the Committee that a large number of women and men, dividing themselves into several groups, distributed Christian religious material at various places including EAMCET centres. Some student organisations protested against these activities. Police had to intervene to maintain law and order.

On April 9, 2006, two Christians by name Balaraju (pastor) and Babu while coming down from Tirumala to Tirupathi in bus bearing No. AP 11Z 1130 distributed pamphlets propagating Christianity to the pilgrims travelling in that bus. One of the passengers Shri Arvind of Hyderabad complained the matter to the AV&SO Shri S. Sivananda Kishore, who after enquiry, gave a report on 11.4.2006 to the Vigilance and Security Officer, TTD. Basing on his report, a case in crime No. 8/2006 was registered against S. Balaraju and P. Babu, residents of Tirupathi and the police took up investigation. On the basis of the said complaint, Shri R. Sivananda Kishore (AV&SO, Sector-III, TTD, Tirumala), in his report recommended as follows:

“In the light of instant case, the following recommendations may be considered to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future.

As per Rule 197 of APCHR and E Act 1987 the population living in Tirumala shall adhere to the norms and shall follow the sentiments of Hindu Religion. As such a thorough probe has to be taken up to verify the antecedents of non-Hindu employees who are working in TTD as well as government departments, i.e. police, fire services, commercial taxes, etc., who are staying in Tirumala. The identified employees and their families shall be shifted from Tirumala.

His Holiness Sri Vishwesha Teertha of Pejawar Mutt, Udipi, requested Justice G. Bikshapathy, Justice K.B. Siddappa, former Judges of Andhra Pradesh High Court, Shri T.S. Rao, former Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh, Dr. P. Geervani, former Vice-Chancellor of Padmavathi Mahila Vishwavidyalaya and Dr. R. Srihari, former Vice-Chancellor of Dravidian University, Kuppam, to function as a fact-finding committee under the chairmanship of Justice G. Bikshapathy to ascertain the factual position as regards the activities of non-Hindu religious communities in Tirumala and Tirupathi and to furnish a report to His Holiness for considering the steps to be taken to prevent undesirable activities of the Christian and other non-Hindu communities.

Some of the family members of the TTD employees such as wife and children are practicing Christian ideology and inviting the pastors to conduct prayers in their homes at Tirumala, the committee found.

In the Rule 198 of APCHR&E Act 1987 the following activities are prohibited at Tirumala:-

(A) Carrying and possession of holy books of other religions like Bible, Quran etc. (B) Any kind of propagation of other than Hindu religion by way of distribution of pamphlets, literature, brochures, stickers, banners, flags, including prayers and speeches etc.

Two Christian women belonging to Chilakuluripet were found in the TTD queue complex and they were caught red-handed on 26.4.2006 distributing religious pamphlets to the pilgrims in the queue and were handed over to the Deputy Superintendent of Police at Tirumala by the pilgrims themselves. The Committee was informed that the Vigilance personnel took into custody these two Christian women and produced them before the DSP, Tirumala. The Committee was told that the Special Officer got released those two women after questioning them and arranged special darshan and gave prasadam. When the Committee met the Executive Officer on 22.06.2006, Special Officer Shri Dharma Reddy was present and he told the Committee that those two women came from an old-age home, run by a Christian mission and they stated that as per the wish of some of the inmates of the old-age home who were suffering from AIDS, they came to get prasadam for distributing it to those inmates, and on that representation of the two women, he permitted them to have darshan after signing the requisite declaration and gave them prasadam. No name of the old-age home was disclosed.

It is highly unlikely that a Christian would travel long distance to visit Tirumala to collect prasadam offered by a Hindu religious temple to be given to the inmates of an old-age home run by a Christian mission. The two women did not disclose to the TTD officials concerned before entering the queue complex that they were Christians, and they got into the queue complex without signing the requisite declaration and obtaining permission of the TTD officials concerned.

Two Christians David (pastor) and Kumar were found propagating Christianity in Tirumala and they were handed over to police. The police registered a case and kept them for two days on remand. Those two persons admitted that they committed a mistake. This was also confirmed by the EO, TTD who stated that the two were indulging in religious propaganda. However, strangely the Special Officer, Shri Dharma Reddy, stated that they did not indulge in any Christian propaganda. The two Christians were eventually released without taking any action against them.

On May 21, 2006, Special Officer Shri Dharma Reddy held a press conference in which he stated that no Christian religious propaganda was going on in Tirumala. It is evident that he is not taking a serious view of these objectionable activities of the Christians at the holy place of Tirumala.

Propagation of Christian religion in educational institutions in Tirupathi

Educational institutions at Tirupathi were established on TTD land and with TTD funds. But in the colleges and hostel at Tirupathi, Christian religious propagation is rampant. The Christian students themselves act as propagators. Shri Deva Sangeetham, Principal of S.V. University College, openly indulges in propagating and converting the students to Christianity by making them go to Church, reading the Bible and creating disaffection towards Hindu religion. After Shri Deva Sangeetham has taken charge as Principal, the practice of garlanding the portrait of Lord Venkateswara is stopped.

After Smt. Veena Noble Das took charge as Vice-Chancellor of Padmavathi Mahila University, she got removed the photos of Lord Venkateswara and Goddess Padmavathi from all the institutions of the Mahila University and she also got removed the portrait of Lord Venkateswara from her office and discontinued the practice of garlanding the portraits of Lord Venkateswara and Goddess Padmavathi everyday. Instead she kept a portrait of Jesus Christ and the Cross on her office table. She sends batches of students in the university buses to the church. It is also stated that in the Mahila University, the students are not allowed to have tilak on the forehead now-a-days and that students putting tilak are being discriminated.

Employment in the TTD

Only Hindus are to be appointed as employees in the TTD under the rule. However, the EO stated that for some period this was not followed with the result that some Muslim personnel came to be appointed. He further stated that steps are being taken to shift them to some other places gradually. Some employees in the TTD profess Christianity and that in the police quarters also congregations and prayers are conducted regularly. There are about 40 Christian families residing in Tirumala and they hold religious congregations at their homes on Sundays. It is stated that even in the Annadanam Complex there is an employee, Shri Ananda Raju belonging to Christian community, working as Superintendent. The EO has stated that he will enquire and take action. Another Christian woman works in the electrical department. Gopinath, Garden Superintendent, also belongs to Christian community.

Non-Hindu employees of TTD and their activities

It is brought to the notice of the Committee that many people from Christian and Muslim communities were being employed in the TTD and some of the Hindu employees were even converted as Christians and they practice Christianity. About 40 families in Balaji Colony are Christians. They hold congregations and prayers on Sundays.

The Committee was informed that Gopinath, who was posted on deputation as Garden Superintendent, is a Christian and that he criticises worshipping Lord Venkateswara saying why should a black stone be decorated with garlands, and that he indulges in criticising Hindu Religion.

Considering the above facts and circumstances, the propagation of Christianity with an ulterior motive of conversion is taking place in Tirupathi and Tirumala. Since the EO has categorically assured the Committee that no such incidents will be allowed to take place, the matter has to be reviewed periodically.


Scouts and guides


In the queue complex number of scouts and guides are deployed to regulate the pilgrims. It is understood that details of the religion of the persons who are so engaged is not verified and that some of them belong to non-Hindu communities. The scouts and guides are allowed into the main temple and to have darshan. The Executive Officer has informed the Committee that he would take appropriate measures to prevent non-Hindus being deployed as scouts and guides in Tirumala.

Hawkers and shopkeepers

There are number of hawkers who belong to Muslim community. Two instances are given. Shop Nos. 192 and 72 in the shopping complex are run by Shri Jamal Khadar and Maithri. When this was brought to the notice of EO he assured the Committee that he will look into the matter and take appropriate action. It is also further brought to the notice of the Committee that unauthorised hawkers are taken out of Tirumala by midnight and left in interior Bakrapeta forest area. Even in this process also, mainly Hindus are targeted and Muslims are rarely touched.

Opposite to Lepakshi Emporium, there are about 50 Nepali shopkeepers who are Christians and they also offer prayers on Sundays, reading the Bible and other Christian religious material in Tirumala.

About 40 Muslim shopkeepers also are there in Tirumala. They offer namaz on Fridays in Tirumala. There are also some Muslim hawkers mostly from Kadiri (Ananthapur District).

Dress code and putting tilakam

Even though the EO has stated that dress code and tilakam were prescribed for the employees, these were not being strictly implemented. The Committee impressed upon the EO to implement these strictly.

Other illegal activities in Tirumala


1. The Committee was informed that various illegal activities both at Tirumala and at Tirupathi are going on, such as sale and consumption of liquor, sale and consumption of meat, flesh trade, gambling etc.

2. Cow slaughter is taking place in down hill at Tirupathi near D.R. Mahal. The meat is being transported to Tirumala clandestinely.

3. TTD Kalyana Mandapam at Nagalapuram is being used by the Christians for their prayer congregations and for performance of Christian marriages. Near Sree Rama and Siva Temple in Tirupathi, Christian prayers and propaganda take place by intercepting the Hindu devotees visiting the temples.

4. The newly constituted Specified Authority in place of the Board of Trustees, (the term of which has expired) is being headed by Shri D. Rosaiah, IAS, who is said to be a Christian.

The Tourism Department is going to take up erection and operation of rope way from Tirupathi to Tirumala. The Tourism Department plans to establish multiplexes, food courts and other entertainment and recreational spots on Tirumala Hills. The Committee feels that in order to facilitate the activities of Tourism Department on the hills, the area of TTD is restricted to two hills covering an area of 27.5 sq.kms.

Division Bench of Andhra Pradesh High Court has observed in a judgment as follows: “Although there is no documentation available as the origin is lost in antiquity, there is no attempt made before us to question the ownership of the Lord Venkateswara of Seven Hills. This being true and a real concept, the Board of Trustees, the Committee or the Executive Officer are only administrators of the property of Lord Venkateswara. They can have no right of ownership in themselves and they cannot thus decide to do anything against the interest of the right of the owner i.e., in the instant case, Lord Venkateswara. Once the ownership is resolved and the right to administer is deemed to vest as provided under Article 26 of the Constitution of India in the plurality of the devotees and regulated by the provisions of the Act and Rules framed thereunder, no administrator, whether appointed under the Act or otherwise can take liberty to destroy the sanctity and holiness of the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams and domain, as we have already held, extends to all the Seven Hills called ‘Tirumala’.”

Earlier the Division Bench in para 3 held as follows:- “It is not in dispute that pilgrims in thousands and millions in number sometimes visit the temple and there is no day which is not full of activities of the pilgrims and various rituals, poojas and rites of the cult preserved since antiquity and no part of the Seven Hills, except some secular activities which are essential for the service of Lord Venkateswara, is free from religious activities in and around the temple right from the Foot Hills on all sides.”

The Sacred Seven Hills

The Committee is of the considered opinion that restricting the area of TTD to only 21 kms covering two hills, runs counter to the ancient texts and age-old traditions and practices of the temple and that the Hindus always considered Sri Venkateswara as Lord of the Seven Hills and lakhs of devotees climb the Seven Hills with utmost devotion and reverence bare footed chanting the names of Lord Venkateswara. The Committee further feels that opening the Seven Hills to the Tourism Department will destroy the sanctity, serenity and spirituality of the Seven Hills and will seriously hurt the feelings of the Hindus throughout the country and the world.

Funds of the TTD

Previously Hindu Dharma Parirakshana Samithi was organizsing various activities like Harikathas, devotional lectures and concerts in religious music and dance by eminent artists. Now, the name Hindu has been removed and a Dharma Prachara Parishad is in its place which hardly conducts any religious discourses by eminent Hindu spiritual leaders and does not conduct any religious cultural activities by prominent artists. The members of the public further expressed that eminent Hindu spiritual leaders should be invited to give discourses regularly at important places throughout the country and even abroad. They are of the further opinion that contributions of the devotees running into hundreds of crores should be utilised only for Hindu religious and dharmic activities and various service activities in the name of Lord Venkateswara only. The funds should not be diverted to other activities.

The Devasthanam has donated considerable land to a Muslim organisation for construction of a mosque, which has seriously hurt and agitated Hindus, arousing their religious sentiments. Several persons have expressed that more than 35,000 temples in the state are not having any means for performing daily poojas and donating for other religions is wholly unwarranted.

Constitution of TTD Board and the Committee

It is the general view of the public that TTD Board and its Committees should comprise of eminent devout Hindus who have contributed to the development of the Hindu faith and spirituality and government of the day should take the advice of the Hindu dharmacharyas and Hindu spiritual leaders in making such appointments.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home




Home | Syndicate this site (XML) | Guestbook | Blogger
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors.
Everything else © 2005 The Conversion Agenda