Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Police on Monday said that recent incidents of attacks on Hindu temples are all standalone incidents, and an attempt to link them all to spin the narrative is wrong. As per the official statement issued by Director General of Andhra Pradesh Police (DGP) Gautam Sawang, accused in 12 out of 19 cases of attacks on temples and its properties reported since the Antarvedi incident were arrested within no time.
“Firstly, we have arrested the accused in as many as 12 out of the 19 cases of attacks on temples or temple properties reported since the Antarvedi incident. We are confident that we will be able to crack the rest in due course. All these are standalone incidents; each one has a different motive. There seems to be a rather aggressive attempt being made to link all these incidents to spin the narrative which is wrong,” he said.
Elaborating further, he cited the example of an incident in Srikakulam where people said that the arm of an idol was desecrated.
“Our investigation revealed that the arm of the idol fell off last year due to the idol being exposed to heavy rains. When it comes to the Kurnool incident, the accused revealed that he desecrated the idol and stole the private parts of the deity because he was made to believe that this could lead his wife to conceive a child. Various other attacks were executed by treasure trove gangs who were hunting for treasures supposedly hidden under idols. Therefore, all these incidents have different motives and are completely unrelated,” he said.
Speaking about the precautionary measures taken by the police to ensure the safety of places of worship, the DGP said that police have mapped a total of 47,593 places of worship out of which there are 28,567 temples.
“Only 10 per cent of the structures were equipped with CCTV cameras. We have issued notices to all the authorities of the respective temples to take necessary steps to ensure safety, like installing CCTVs, boosting the lighting around the structure etc.”
“A comprehensive social audit of all these structures has been completed. The department itself has installed CCTVs at over 880 locations. The police have `bound over` a total of 8,204 who have committed similar offences in the past 6 years,” he said.
Talking about the most recent incident that was reported from the Chittoor district of the state, he said that the police sent a notice to the management of the temple to ensure its safety, and is presently investigating all possible angles.
According to Andhra Pradesh police, 2020 has reported the least number of incidents of attacks on temples by far, when compared to the figures pertaining to all the years since the division of the state.
The official data provided by the police said 290 cases of attacks on temples and its properties were reported in 2015, while 322 in 2016.
“318 attacks were reported in 2017, 267 in 2018, 305 in 2019, and 228 such cases are reported in 2020 so far.” The police said.
The DGP further requested the citizens of the state to not get carried away and should focus on the facts.
“If any citizens have any concern or information, I request him/her to approach the police and I personally assure that we will respond promptly and immediately look into the matter,” he added.