The temple city attained a saffron tinge with scores of saints, pontiffs and Hindu activists from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra taking out an impressive procession on Thursday, as a prelude to the ‘Hindu Garjana’ slated for Friday.
Activists on foot as well as on four-wheelers took out a colourful procession across the city, inviting the public to participate in the mammoth event, in which around 10,000 people are expected to congregate. The event is meant to voice concern over the rising security threat to Tirumala and also mobilize public opinion against the construction of Islamic University at the foot of Tirumala hills.
Saiva Kshetra Peetadhipathi Siva Swamiji, in his address, saw a conspiracy on to suppress Hindu Dharma and pointed to the failure of the local police in detecting the Islamic militants hiding in Puttur and Punganur. Coming down heavily on the Tirupati Urban Development Authority (TUDA) for dillydallying over permission, he said the event would go on, ‘come what may’. On the Government upholding the Collector’s order to demolish the unapproved building housing the Islamic University, the Swamiji wanted the authorities to execute the same at the earliest. The seer said the onus was on the TTD and the Endowments department to restore the Tirumala temple’s sanctity as well as people’s faith on Hindu Dharma.
Though the TUDA had long back accorded permission to the organisers for holding the event at its ‘Indira Maidanam’, it however sounded the police and revenue officials for advice, given the explosive nature of the event. With no end in sight to the uncertainty till Thursday evening, a pall of uncertainty blanketed the entire event and the organizers were literally on the edge.
“Yes, we did allot the venue for the event, but given its impact on law and order situation, we wrote to the Superintendent of Police. As soon as we get the ‘go ahead’, the organizers can occupy the venue”, the TUDA Secretary K. Madhavi Latha told this newspaper. The organizers have now threatened to hold the event right in front of the Islamic University campus at Thondavada, if the TUDA’s permission was not forthcoming, which is feared to create more trouble than expected.