Tirupati: Less than 24 hours of the chief priest of Tirumala temple Ramana Deekshitulu taking exception to the Tirulama Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Board’s undue interference in rituals at the famous shrine, the Board axed four top priests including him from the services.
The four main priests – Ramana Deekshitulu, Narayana Deekshitulu, Narasimha Deekshitulu and Srinivasa Deekshitulu – were shown the door under the pretext of being aged over 65 years.
Only on Tuesday, Ramana Deekshitulu had complained before the media that the traditional rituals including prasadam went haywire with the governing body bringing pressure on them to complete rituals like Tomala seva in three minutes, begin Suprabhata seva at 12 am, 2 am or 3 am and prepare less prasadam to save time to please the VVIPs which included politicians, business magnates and judicial officers.
He even blamed the media for not covering such irregularities and taking side of the management. Reacting to the TTD decision, the chief priest replied the priests were not employees of the TTD and had been serving the temple since generations. Though in 1996, the Board decided to do away with the practice of hereditary priests, no alternative arrangements were made.
He said that the temple priests were being humiliated by the political as well as the executive bodies.