AMARAVATI: Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) Gautam Sawang warned that stern legal action would be taken against perpetrators who spread fake news about temples and incite religious hatred on social media. The Police Department is leaving no stone unturned to ensure communal harmony in the State, he said.Addressing a press conference at the State Police Headquarters at Mangalagiri, the DGP said that out of the 44 temple offences in 2020 and 2021, 15 cases remained yet unresolved.
Speaking at length about the various measures taken by the AP Police, he said that round-the-clock surveillance using CCTV cameras and regular policing, as part of a multi-pronged strategy to ensure safety and security of religious institutions in the State was taken up.
State and district level committees for communal harmony were already set up by the government and we are setting up such committees at police station level, besides forming village defence squads, he said.
As many as 15,394 village defence squads have already been formed and the remaining 7,862 squads will be set up soon. The idea is to rope in youth to keep a vigil on religious places and ensure that no outsiders resort to temple vandalism, he said.
Police are governed by the Constitution and the law of land and not by any other factor such as caste, creed and region, he said while taking exception to the aspersions being cast on the Police Department. For those making such baseless allegations against the police he said were being made by those who were not getting facts right.
In the past five months, the police have rounded up 1,635 temple offenders and 2,979 communal suspects. In the due course of investigation, 180 old cases were detected and 337 accused arrested, including seven inter-state treasure hunt gangs.
“Of the total 44 major incidents that took place after September 5, 2020 in the State, 29 have been solved and 80 accused arrested. The newly formed SIT is probing the remaining 15 cases,” he said.
The police had taken up mapping and survey of religious institutions in the State, which is still under progress. As on January 12, 58,871 religious institutions are geotagged, surveyed, mapped and security audit is done and every detail recorded.
Additional DG Ravishankar Ayyanar, SIT chief GVJ Ashok Kumar, DIGs Rajasekhar Babu and Palaraju were present in the session with the media along with Gautam Sawang at DGP's office on Wednesday.
The DGP requested people to dial 100 or call 9392903400 immediately if they saw anyone or any suspicious activity in the vicinity of temples and prayer houses in the State.
AP DGP Gautam Sawang Press Meet about AP Temples Issue Full Video Below