BJP national secretary and co-incharge of Andhra Pradesh Sunil Deodhar claimed that an illegal Christian cross was erected on a hilltop in Edlapadu, Andhra Pradesh where footprints of Hindu deity Sita used to exist. He also said that a carving of the Hindu deity Narasimhama exists at the back of the cross. His tweet drew close to 7,000 retweets as of this writing.

Deodhar’s tweet was quote-tweeted by BJP MP from Karnataka Tejasvi Surya. “Hindu places of reverence are systematically targeted and new structures raised at very same places to show aggression on indigenous faith people,” he wrote.

Other BJP leaders from Andhra Pradesh who amplified the claim were the party’s state president Somu Veerraju and general secretary S Vishnu Vardhan Reddy.

It was also shared by RSS publication Organiser.

“No encroachment on Hindu religious site”: Narasaraopet sub-collector Srivas Nupur

Yedlapadu police station SI Srihari told to Alt News, “The cross is erected on a hill that has a Mary Amma’s temple that dates back at least 30 years. Adjacent to that hill, about half a kilometre away, is Lord Narshima’s (avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu) place of worship. No encroachment has been made on the latter.”

Narasaraopet sub-collector Srivas Nupur gave a similar statement to Hindustan Times. “There was absolutely no truth in the claim about the encroachment of the hillock hosting the Hindu religious sites,” he said. He further added that “there was an old Mother Mary temple at an adjacent hill at Yerragonda hillock in the same village and local RCM Church authorities sought district administration’s permission to construct steps for the devotees to reach the temple.”

Guntur rural district police uploaded a video on Twitter to show that the Hindu place of worship is on a different hilltop.

Guntur police uploaded another video to debunk the claim.

Guntur district collector also tweeted, “The allegation that the Cross was erected where Sita Maata footprints and carvings of Lord Narsimha existed is not true.”

However, SI Srihar also informed Alt News that an application for the land where the cross is erected is in process. Sub-collector Nupur told Hindustan Times that the church authorities started constructing steps and erecting a huge cross before the government gave any permission. “The police and revenue authorities went there and stopped the works,” he said.

While the Church authorities have submitted an application to erect the cross, it is yet to be approved. Guntur collector and district magistrate Vivek Yadav told Alt News that a committee has been formed to inspect the matter. However, the claim that the cross encroached on land with a Hindu shrine was denied by the authorities.