Tirupati: Devotees and temple staff got into a heated altercation at the Tirumala temple on 26 December and the former launched a protest alleging that they were heckled by the staff. The police intervened and removed the protestors from the spot.

According to reports, a group of over 30 devotees had booked the Srivani Trust darshan tickets by paying Rs. 11,000 per ticket through the current booking mode. There was an altercation between the temple staff and the devotees who demanded they be allowed beyond the Jaya-Vijaya point.

The staff told the devotes that it was not possible. The latter then squatted in the queue for a brief while and staged protests inside the sanctum sanctorum and blocked the queue lines. The chaos continued for over an hour.

The devotes claimed they had paid Rs. 11,000 to obtain Srivani Trust's VIP darshan ticket and alleged that it was unfortunate that the TTD, which had claimed during the launch of the scheme that it will facilitate quality darshan to the devotees, has now compromised on the quality of the darshan. There is no difference in the quality of darshan being provided to Rs. 300 ticket holders and us, they said and alleged that the police and the temple staff pushed the devotees out from the temple and did not spare even the women and children.

TTD had announced that it would implement COVID-19 guidelines but it is not implementing any safety protocols, the devotees alleged. Later, the police and others managed to pacify the protestors.

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