Mar 27, 2012 at 06:53pm IST

AP: May the good Lord save his devotees at Tirumala

TIRUMALA: The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), of late, is in news for all wrong reasons, thanks to the laxity of it security and vigilance staff.
What started with indiscipline among security guards worsened soon into more serious incidents.
Apart from thefts from hundi, there were attacks on devotees at the queue complex, rape of a teenager by a Vigilance staffer and murder of an employee at the TTD headquarters, to list a few.
The inefficiency of the security and vigilance wing is not only causing embarrassment to the TTD authorities but also poses questions over the security of the temple and its treasury and also the safety devotees visiting the hill shrine.
Though several incidents exposed the failure of the security wing in the last one year, they became more frequent in recent times.
Earlier this week, Mallikarjuna, an employee at the TTD pay and accounts department, was stabbed to death by the husband of his colleague inside the TTD administrative building at Tirupati.
But the security personnel made no attempt to prevent the attack which took place in the presence of a large gathering of employees.
Shockingly, the security personnel did not even call an ambulance until a senior officer arrived at the scene and instructed them to do so.
Two days before the incident, another TTD employee who works as an appraiser, was caught stealing valuables from the treasury.
Initially, he was let off with a warning for unexplained reasons, but a complaint was lodged against him after the television news channels flashed the news.
In another incident, a 10-year-old boy was spotted at the sanctum sanctorum taking pictures of the deity with his father’s cellphone.
Also, a few others were arrested for carrying cellphones inside the temple over the last couple of months.
However, no action was taken against the security personnel for not checking devotees properly on the grounds that it was they who caught the erring pilgrims.
In most cases, the cellphones were not returned to the devotees despite repeated pleas.
Causing more embarrassment to the TTD administration, Delli Babu, a vigilance jamedar for about 16 years, was caught for raping a 13-year-old girl from Tamil Nadu at the transit rest place located inside the security and vigilance office in May last year.
Four months before this, unidentified persons have stolen a golden umbrella from the golden chariot at the vahanamandapam in January.
The theft occurred right in front of the temple which has huge presence of security personnel.
“Security staff are there only for the sake of presence.
Further, they are rude towards pilgrims,” said Amarnath, a retired teacher from Secunderabad.
The security personnel behaved rudely with his family in the queue though there were elderly women.
As if these failures are not enough, the lowlevel security staff reportedly collect mamools from small vendors and taxi drivers on several pretexts.
Though TTD’s higher functionaries like board chairman Kanumoori Bapiraju, executive officer LV Subramanyam and chief vigilance and security officer MK Singh come under fire repeatedly for the laxity of the vigilance and security wing, for reasons best known to them, there has been no firm action against the erring staff.
MK Singh, who was promoted as deputy inspector general of police about seven months ago, is still continuing as chief vigilance officer, which is a superintendent of police level post.
TTD executive officer LV Subramanyam is also not taking any initiative to cleanse the TTD security wing as he is going through a rough phase after being named in the Emaar scam by the CBI.
He is said to be keen on streamlining TTD administration and create more facilities for pilgrims, but doesn’t want not to involve himself in security matters.

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