In a tragic incident of suicide of priest P. Phanikumar Acharyulu due to pressure from temple authorities; archakas of the state have announced protests and closure of 100 temples in the state on Friday. Phani had consumed poison on 12 December and died during medical treatment on 13 December. His death led to protests on Friday (14 December).
Kumar worked as a priest in Venkateswara Temple in Ramachandrapuram in East Godavari district.
Allegedly, this is a second suicide of a priest in the last three months. Archaka Mallikarjuna Sarma, aged 27, working at Sivalayam in Kanupuru village in Korukonda mandal, committed suicide in October this year.
In a selfie video before consuming poison, Sarma alleged of harassment by the temple authorities. He claimed that he was paid just Rs 1,000 per month, and also forced to participate in illegal activities.
Similarly, before consuming rat poison on 12 December, P. Phanikumar Acharyulu also shot a video complaining of harassment by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Trust Chairman, Satyanarayana, his spouse Jayalakshmi, his younger brother Ch Ramakrishna, and said that he was unable to bear the insults and harassment.