The wooden chariot of the famous Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Antarvedi in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh was gutted in a fire mishap in the wee hours of Sunday.
The state government ordered an inquiry into the incident to establish the cause of the fire. “We have appointed Endowments Additional Commissioner Ramachandra Mohan as the inquiry officer. He has been asked to coordinate with the police and determine the cause of the fire,” Endowments Minister Velampalli Srinivas said here.
The 40-feet high chariot made of teak wood was parked in a shed on the temple premises.
The chariot is normally used only during the ‘Radhotsavam’ at the Lords celestial wedding festivities.
Police said they were investigating whether an electrical short circuit caused the mishap or if any arson was involved.
There was a similar incident in SPS Nellore district a few months ago, where it turned out that a mentally ill person set a temple chariot on fire.
We are probing all such angles in this case as well, a senior police official said over phone from Kakinada.
The Endowments Minister, who expressed anguish over the incident, said appropriate action would be taken after the investigation by the Additional Commissioner was completed.
The Minister also spoke to the East Godavari district Superintendent of Police Adnan Nayeem and directed that a thorough investigation be conducted.
He told the SP to take stern action if it turned out to be an act of arson.
Velampalli also asked the Endowments authorities to take immediate steps for building a new chariot.
Meanwhile, state BJP president Somu Veerraju condemned the incident and requested Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy to bring the guilty to book in three days.