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Treasure Hunters Vandalise Grave Of Hindu Saint Near Hampi, Right-Wingers Spread Rumours Blaming Muslims

A picture of the vandalised Vyasaraja Tirtha'S Brindavana. | Prahlad Joshi/Twitter

Days after the tomb of a 16th-century Hindu saint at Anegundi near Hampi in Karnataka was found razed to the ground, the state police have arrested six persons, including a temple priest, for the wanton vandalism of the heritage site.

The arrested were identified as T. Bala Narasaiah, 42, Pollari Murali Manohar Reddy, 33, D. Manohar, 27, K. Kummat Keshava, 29, B. Vijaya Kumar, 36, and Sriramulu, 45. Another accused, Srinivas Reddy, 40, is absconding. The police have also seized pickaxes, shovels, spades and other tools used for digging the Brindavana, besides a four-wheeler, The Hindu reported.

The police stated that all six accused hailed from Tadapatri town of Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh and had dug up the Nava Brindavana looking for treasure.

Bala Narasaiah, who was one of the six arrested, is a priest at a temple in Andhra Pradesh. He allegedly brought the others to gig up the site, based on a story that the saint was buried with diamonds and pearls gifted by King Krishnadevaraya.

The destruction of the tomb of the 16th-century saint of the Madhwa tradition had sent shock waves across Hampi. It also gave the opportunity for the right-wingers on social media to spread false rumours blaming Muslims for the vandalism.

BJP MP Tejasvi Surya tweeted saying that, “Such destruction happened 5 centuries ago by Bahamani Sultans! (sic)”, referring to the Medieval Muslim kingdom in South India.

This incident comes five months after a group of youths was arrested after a video of them vandalising pillars at the Vishnu Temple Complex in Hampi went viral on social media. Even then, right-wingers on social media had spread misinformation that Muslims were behind the attacks.

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Shaik Zakeer Hussain is the Founder and Editor of The Cognate.

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