A major security lapse came to the fore during the visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to Tirumala in India today (Sunday). He was forced to wait for 12 minutes for his car after a darshan atop the Tirumala hill, giving jitters to the staff of the Tiruumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), especially the security. An inquiry has been ordered into the lapse, the New Indian Express reported.
Sirisena reached Tirumala late on Saturday night for a two-day pilgrimage. Upon arrival, the Sri Lanka president was received by TTD chairman Chadalwada Krishnamurthy, executive officer (EO) Sambasiva Rao, Tirupati joint EO Pola Bhaskar and other officials. He made a night halt at the Sri Padmavathi guesthouse and arrangements were made for a visit to the temple of Venkateshwara at Tirumala early Sunday morning.
At 3 am Sunday, the president along with his wife Jayanthi Pushpa Kumari Sirisena, son Daham Tharaka and other family members attended the Suprabhata Seva. When they came out of the sanctum sanctorium, the driver of their car was not in the seat.
Sirisena and his wife waited for about 12 minutes inside the car as his security stood guard around it. Even TTD staffers scurried around, the driver coolly returned from his own darshan of the deity. Immediately, Sirisena was driven at speed to the guest house.
At around 6.30 am, during the VIP break time, Sirisena and his family returned to the temple to pay obeisance to the presiding deity. He spent about six minutes inside the sanctum sanctorum and TTD authorities presented him silk clothes and pandits administered Vedaaseervachanam to the family.
The minister in waiting, Andhra Pradesh’s forest minister Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy presented the president a replica of the Ananda Nilayam (the dome of the garbhalayam of the temple) on behalf of the AP government.
Later, Sirisena and his family members left for Bengaluru by road and were scheduled to fly back to Sri Lanka.
An inquiry has been ordered into the security lapse. It is learnt that the driver and other members of Sirisena’s retinue sought permission from the temple authorities for a darshan of the deity. They were reportedly permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorium despite the visit of the VVIP. Tirupati Urban superintendent of police Jayalashmi is learnt to have questioned the temple authorities for giving permission to drivers and other staff during the VVIP visit. (Colombo Gazette)