Forcibly Retired Hereditary Priests Thank AP CM After TTD Issues Fresh Orders Reinstating Them
Category: Andhrapradesh

Tirumala temple chief priest Dr AV Ramana Dikshitulu along with the other reinstated retired priests met  Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy at his Camp Office in Tadepalli on Tuesday, to thank him on behalf of all the hereditary priests who were put back into the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TDP) fold.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Ramana Dikshitulu clarified that there was no question of other religious propaganda taking place on the hill shrine of Tirumala. He said they had requested the Chief Minister to allow the continuance of the daily ritual offerings in the temples without any hindrance. He thanked YS Jagan on behalf of the TTD hereditary priests for being reinstated again.

Ramana Dikshitulu said that CM YS Jagan cancelled the forcible retirement of hereditary priests and he prayed that he continue as the Chief Minister for many years and support the priests in the state.

When asked about the allegations on the TTD, the Chief Priest dismissed it and stated it was natural for people to throw stones when a tree bore fruits and the allegations against TTD were similar. Whoever is in politics continues to be criticized, he said. Condemning the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Ramana Dikshitulu said that they had spread defamatory propaganda that there was other religious activity happening in Tirumala even during Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy's regime.

It may be recollected that in 2018, the TTD, during the TDP rule, fixed the retirement age for the temple priests and forced the then Tirumala temple chief priest Ramana Deekshitulu and other hereditary priests to retire including the Govindaraja Swamy temple and Sri Padmavathi Ammavari temple priests.

Though the hereditary priests moved the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which directed the TTD to reinstate them with immediate effect, the temple body kept the High Court order in abeyance since 2018.

The YSR Congress Party government led by CM YS Jagan had passed GO No. 76 to restore the hereditary rights of priests in October 2019, but the order could not be implemented due to various reasons.

At first, Ramana Dikshitulu was appointed as Agama advisor and honorary chief priest. Later, fresh orders were issued and the TTD management issued orders reinstating all the hereditary priests who were forcibly retired since 2018. Tirumala temple chief priest Ramana Dikshitulu, the hereditary priests of Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirumala, Sri Govindaraja Swamy temple in Tirupati and Sri Padmavathi Ammavari temple in Tiruchanur were reinstated as per the new orders.

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