Amid heightened communal tensions in Andhra Pradesh over the recent temple vandalisms, CM Jagan Mohan Reddy, on Thursday, announced that he will be forming a 7-member State Level Communal Harmony Committee, along with district-level committees. The committee headed by the state chief secretary, will comprise of the DGP, principal secretaries (Home, Endowments, Minority Welfare, Political) and one member from Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and Other communities. Condemning the recent spat of events, Reddy said that remote temples are being attacked each time the government an important scheme.
Meanwhile, the district-level committees have been given the responsibilities of timely action during such disturbances, take up social activities, study history of past disputes and come up with action place, identify sensitive areas, list of land disputes. The committee has also been instructed to make frequent field visits, review cases and take up programmes in school and colleges to foster togetherness. The government aims to signal that communal harmony is central for the development of State and take stern action against the perpetrators of crimes against religious harmony.
The state has seen a slew of attacks on temples - the latest being desecration of Lord Ram idol in Sri Rama Swamy Devasthanam in Vizianagaram district. Hinting at an Opposition conspiracy behind the incidents, CM Jagan Mohan Reddy cited nine instances where the attack on the temples coincided with launch of various welfare schemes by his government. The Andhra CM also described attacks on temples as "political guerrilla warfare" intended to defame Andhra Police and divert the attention of people from the work that his government is doing.
On the other hand, Former Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu remarked, "In the last 19 months, over 120 attacks took place on temples. These attacks were going on according to a premeditated plan. Over 23 idols were demolished in six temples at Pithapuram. Durgamma temple was brought down in Guntur." BJP too has compared the current spate of attacks on temples to the destruction of Goa temples in the 16th century, alleging that the AP government was tacitly supporting a "particular religion".