Editors Note : Its was because the Video was posted on the Hindu human rights site it went viral so we want to thank all HHR Facebook members who played a very important part in sharing the video which has lead to following news story. Thanks HHR
Even as the Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam, the government controlled organization, is smarting under criticism after Monday’s electrocution incident in Tirumala hills, in which a 35-year-old woman and her year-old child died, it found itself embroiled in more controversy as a YouTube video surfaced, in which a self-styled pastor, Mondithoka Sudhir, openly preaches in front of the celebrated Sri Venkateswara temple and proceeds to address his viewers in America, saying he would “free the beautiful Tirumala from the menace of Hinduism.”
According to The Hindu, “in a swift move, the Tirupati Urban Police arrested Mondithoka Sudhir, founder-director of the Hyderabad-based Emmanuel Baptist Ministry of India (IBMI), from his Puterala residence in Vissannapet mandal of Krishna district in the early hours of Thursday. He has been remanded to judicial custody.”
The Times of India reported that “the shocking video was forwarded to TTD Executive Officer, Mr. M.G. Gopal, by former undivided Andhra Pradesh DGP, Mr. Aravinda Rao, on Wednesday. The person who identified himself as Sudhir uploaded the visuals of his journey to the seven hills and his boasting to his audience that he could even do non-Hindu prayers on his way. He even stopped his car to ask a passerby whether his poverty was gone after his visit to the temple. The TTD vigilance wing found that Sudhir visited Tirumala during Brahmostavam (in September 2013). Cases were booked against six other people for non-Hindu propaganda. Speaking to media, Mr. Gopal said that the TTD would now enforce stricter laws to curb such activities in Tirumala.”
“Pretending as gullible devotees, Sudhir and his team members surrendered a copy of The Bible and other missionary material to the security staff at Alipiri check point before proceeding to Tirumala along with a video camera,” The Hindu said. “Based on a complaint lodged by advocate, Samanchi Srinivas, who is also the BJP district general secretary, and following a hue and cry from various quarters, police swung into action and registered a case (Crime No.100/14 at Tirumala Two Town Police Station). A similar case was registered at Alipiri Police Station based on a complaint by the TTD Assistant Vigilance and Security Officer. Special teams were rushed to Hyderabad and Nuzvid on Wednesday, while Sudhir was found after midnight at his Nuzvid address, from where he was arrested under Section 3 of the AP Propagation of Other Religions in Places of Worship or Prayer (Prohibition) Act 2007. Police also seized his laptop, which was used to upload the video, and his four-wheeler on which he travelled to Tirumala. A manhunt has been launched to nab his younger brother Sukumar and pastors David, Joseph and Yesu Ratnam for complicity in the offence.”
Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. N. Chinna Rajappa, discussed the issue with the DGP, Mr. J.V. Ramudu, on Thursday. According to Eenadu, the Telugu daily, Mr. Chinna Rajappa, who is in-charge of Home, instructed the DGP to appoint a “capable” person as the head of the vigilance department of the TTD to prevent such incidents in future.
Sri Swaroopanandendra Saraswati, the head of the Visakha Saradha Peetam, told the media that he would not “sit idle, while missionary propaganda is allowed to continue in Tirumala hills.” He alleged that these activities were taking place with the connivance of the vigilance staff and other officials of the TTD. “Efforts should be made to find out who these officials are and severe action should be taken against them.” Accusing the authorities and the government of laxity in protecting the rights of Hindus, Eenadu quoted him as saying that he would launch an awareness campaign in Tirumala on November 12th.
The daily said the YouTube video came on top of a series of incidents involving Christian missionary activity in Tirumala. Twenty days back, a woman from neighbouring Tamil Nadu was seen distributing Christian propaganda leaflets to people in the queue lines. In another case, copies of the Bible and propaganda tracts were seized from an employee in the laddoo counter.
Eenadu reports that lax security at Alipiri, in the foothills, was the reason why such incidents occurred. “The security staff at Alipiri is supposed to inspect each item that is being carried to the hills.” However, in a recent incident, some youth were arrested at the toll-gate on the hills when they attempted to smuggle liquor, which is not permitted in Tirumala. The daily said that “if you pay bribes to the staff at Alipiri, you can take just about anything to the hills. If the vigilance staff did their duty, missionary activity cannot take place on the sacred hills.”
The daily also reported that some of the TTD employees were non-Hindus. The administration should take steps to find who they were, “for how could non-Hindu preachers take a video right in front of the celebrated temple?”
As I reported earlier, the TTD employs about 9,000 people directly and outsources more than 11,000 workers. No background check is made to vet their previous antecedents. In the case of Christian converts, they retain their Hindu names and hide the fact of their conversion. Also, recruitment is done just like it is done to any other government department. The recruits are selected on the basis of their performance in a written examination—which is as secular as it could be. Besides, the usual Indian tradition of corruption, favouritsm and nepotism, plays a big role in recruitment. My friend, an officer in TTD, before his superannuation, managed to sneak his son into the engineering department.
Unless the TTD selects its employees after thoroughly vetting their antecedents and also ensures that they are practicing Hindus, reports of anti-Hindu activities will continue to rock the Tirumala hills, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, the richest and the most popular deity in Hindudom.
Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh chapter of the All India Christian Council (AICC) has “strongly” condemned the activities of pastor Sudhir. Dr. G.V. Prasada Rao, the head of its AP chapter, said that, by his actions, Sudhir had made a “scape-goat of all Christians.” Speaking to the media, Sudhir that it was his first “negative attempt” to portray a faith in bad light. Sudhir also promised that it would be his last.
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