After the Antarvedi Temple chariot was found to be burnt in a suspicious manner in September, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday commissioned a newly built chariot to the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple situated in Antarvedi.
The temple located in Antarvedi of East Godavari district possessed a 62-year-old chariot which was used by the temple on special occasions. Kept under a shed, the Chariot went up in flames and was gutted completely in September. After the incident, the had announced that the festivities would be held with the new Chariot. Within a span of 3 months, the Chariot was re-build by the Andhra Pradesh Government and was handed over to the temple authorities.
The Chief Minister offered puja and aarti at the Lakshmi Narasimha temple and dragged the giant seven-tier 40-feet high chariot with his cabinet colleagues to herald its inauguration. State Ministers Chelluboyina Venugopala Krishna, K Kannababu, P Viswaroop, MPs, MLAs, and officials were present on the occasion.
The fire incident had caused widespread outrage taking a political turn, compelling the state government to seek a CBI inquiry into the incident.
The newly built chariot comes as a respite in the state of Andhra Pradesh which had been in the news for a series of incidents of vandalism of temples and Hindu deities. The incidents of vandalism began with the desecration of 400-year-old Lord Rama idol at the famous Ramateertham temple of Vizianagaram district. On December 29 morning, one of the priests found the doors of the ancient Sita Lakshmana Kodandarama temple broken open and the Ram idol in the sanctum sanctorum beheaded. The severed portion of the statue was retrieved from the nearby temple pond on the next day. Thereafter, Lord Subrahmanya Swamy's idol in Lord Vigneshwara temple of Rajahmundry district was found in a desecrated condition on January 1. On January 3, yet another incident of vandalism occurred with Goddess Sita idol found broken in the Sitaram Temple near Pandit Nehru Busstop in Vijayawada.
CM Jagan Mohan Reddy had ordered a CID inquiry to probe the desecration of Lord Ram idol in Ramateertham. He termed the desecration of temples in the state as 'political guerrilla warfare".
In September as well, a 'Nandi' idol was reportedly vandalised in a temple in the Chittoor district. The Police had then alleged that the vandals had broken open the idol based on rumours that gold had been poured into the Nandi idol, however upon finding nothing, the men left the temple.