Tirumala: From now on, non-Hindus will not be allowed into the Tirumala temple without furnishing a declaration affirming their faith in Lord Venkateswara. The declaration register, which was earlier kept in the Vaikuntam queue complex, will now be made available in other places like the JEO camp office, Peshkar Office and all sub-enquiries centres on the seven hills for the convenience of people from other religions.
The decision was announced by TTD joint executive officer KS Srinivasa Raju on Thursday, making it clear that as per GO MS 311 issued by the endowments department, it is mandatory for all non-Hindus to sign the declaration. He said that as per GO MS 311 issued by the endowments department, it is mandatory for all non-Hindus to sign the declaration.
The reiteration of the mandate comes in the wake of YSR Congress president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s visit to Tirumala in May this year. The visit had sparked a controversy as he went for darshan without signing the formal declaration about his faith in Lord Venkateswara. The TTD had come under fire from different political parties and religious organisations for a practicing Christian into the temple in violation of the rules.
Though Jagan’s supporters maintained that he was not required to the sign the register again as he had already done so during his visit to the temple in 2009, the TTD drew flak for its leniency in implementing the rule. The recent arrest of three TTD employees on the charges of practicing and propagating ‘other religion’ on Tirumala hills, and subsequent strong reaction from various quarters, is also learnt to have stirred the TTD to reinforce the norms to avoid further embarrassment.