Temple crimes not related to one another: DGP Gautam Sawang
- All these incidents have different motives and unrelated to each other
- Police asks temple authorities to install CCTV's at temple premises
Amaravati: Director general of police (DGP) Damodar Gautam Sawang on Monday said that crimes reported from different temples across the state were isolated ones and not linked in any manner.
He claimed that 12 of the 19 temple attack cases since the Antarvedi Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple chariot blaze had been cracked. "Bounty hunters, criminal elements, people with superstitious beliefs and others were found involved in crimes at temples in Andhra Pradesh, which registered the lowest such cases in 2020, compared with the past five years," the DGP said in statement on Monday.
"All these incidents are standalone and each one has a different motive. Various other attacks were executed by gangs hunting for treasures supposedly hidden under idols. Therefore, all these incidents have different motives and are completely unrelated," Sawang added.
The DGP was reacting to allegations that Hindu temples were deliberately targeted in the southern state. "Rather, aggressive attempts seem to be on to link all these incidents to give a spin to the narrative, which is wrong," he said.
Presenting statistics on temple attacks, Sawang said 228 cases were identified in 2020, which were lower than the previous years. In 2019 the state witnessed 305 cases involving temples.
During the TDP regime, the state saw 290 cases in 2015, 322 in 2016, 318 in 2017, and 267 in 2018, indicating that the temples were reporting damage in some form or the other through attacks or elements of nature or bounty hunters, the DGP reasoned.
Political parties such as the TDP, BJP and Jana Sena are attempting to corner the state government on rising attacks on temples. Even on social media, targeted propaganda is occurring relentlessly. Commenting on the latest Nandi idol sacrilege in a Chittoor temple, Sawang said police had sent a notice to the temple management and was investigating it from all possible angles.
"We have mapped a total of 47,593 places of worship in the state, of which 28,567 are temples. Only 10 per cent have CCTVs," he said, elaborating on security at religious places. Police has issued notices to temple authorities to take measures like surveillance cameras, increased illumination around the complexes for security.
"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 8,204 persons who had committed similar offences in the past six years," the DGP asserted.
He requested the people not to get carried away by false propaganda. "If any citizen has any concern or information, I request him or her to approach the police. I personally assure that we will respond promptly and look into the matter," he said.