Antarvedi temple closed for one week
The decision was taken after the police officials posted at Antarvedi temple infected with COVID-19by T. Appala Naidu
The Endowment Department has closed Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami temple at Antarvedi in East Godavari district for one week beginning from Monday morning, restricting the entry and darshan for devotees in the wake COVID-19 spread on the temple campus.
However, providing a suitable environment to speed up the ongoing investigation into the incident of burning of the chariot is one of the prime reasons for the closing of the temple.
On Sunday alone, at least 12 police personnel, deputed at the temple campus to prevent any protests at the temple campus, were tested positive for COVID-19.
In an official release issued on Monday, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami temple Executive Officer Yerramsetti Bhadraji has stated; "The temple will remain closed till September 20, restricting the entry into the temple campus and the darshan for the devotees. However, the regular rituals will be performed everyday".
The decision of closing the temple for one week has been taken as there was possibility for the further spread of the COVID-19 among the staff that was drawn from different departments and posted at the temple since September 6.
A senior official of Endowment Department told The Hindu; "The closing down of the temple for some days will enable various agencies to investigate the September 6 incident thoroughly and the decision will help ensure a better environment to proceed with the investigation".
Waiting for CBI: The key police officials are required to join the investigation team, which is expected to arrive from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the incident of the burning of chariot in coming days.
"The preliminary investigation will be affected If the key police officials are infected with the COVID-19. The restrictions on the darshan will also prevent the outsiders to visit the temple campus", according to the Endowment Department official.
The police continue to camp at the temple campus, waiting for the CBI team to arrive the scene of the incident to gather the key evidences, apart from examining various technical issues including the failure of the CC Camera surveillance that was defunct to register the video footage of the shed while the century-old chariot was burning in it.
It is learnt that only those who associated with the ongoing investigation into the chariot burning incident are being allowed inside the temple.