The Bhagyalakshmi temple at Charminar, which was embroiled in a controversy recently over the ringing of bells during the Juma prayers, has been served a notice by police asking the temple committee to shut the place of worship by 9 pm in view of the prevailing atmosphere in the Old City.
Though notices were served on the temple committee on a couple of occasions earlier, they refused to accept it and subsequently it was pasted on the temple premises a few days ago. The temple authorities keep the place of worship open till 10 pm on weekdays and till 11.45 pm on Fridays. However, police have now given them a closing deadline of 9 pm.
In fact, the Bhagyalakshmi temple is the only place of worship in the Old City which is open beyond 8 pm unlike other temples in the South Zone.
“The notice was pasted on the temple premises and subsequently it was removed by police after taking a photograph for evidence. We were asked to shut the temple by 9 pm, but it is not possible because of our age-old practices. However, police have not troubled us for the past 15 days, especially after the row over ringing of bells took place,” Shashikala, a member the family which founded the temple, told TOI.
On the other hand, the Charminar police said serving a notice on the Bhagyalakshmi temple was not an isolated case as similar notices were served on shops and establishments in the locality informing them to wind up early to pre-empt any untoward incidents. Since the temple could be an easy target, the Charminar police have posted personnel round-the-clock at the place.
“We have asked them (temple committee) to close the temple early. After winding up their businesses, local shopkeepers halt at the temple and this might create unnecessary problems,” ACP Charminar division, M Ram Mohan Rao told TOI.TOI