Madikeri: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has recovered the body of the Chief Priest of Talacauvery T.S. Narayanachar (80) yesterday from the landslide site at Gajagiri Hill next to Brahmagiri Hill in Kodagu.
The body of one more victim Anandathirtha was found two days back. He was the brother of Narayanachar. Narayanachar’s body was found at around 2.30 pm at a place called Naga Theertha, two kilometres from his house. Efforts are on to trace the remaining three persons —Narayanachar’s wife Shantha and Assistant Priests Ravikiran Bhat and Srinivas Bhat. Yesterday, the mangled remains of a Duster Suv and an Omni van, both of which reportedly belonging to Narayanachar, were found.
Speaking to reporters, Kodagu District Minister V. Somanna said that rescue teams were doing the job under hostile weather.
Somanna said that Narayanachar had served the Talacauvery Temple for decades and it was wrong to character assassinate a person.
“Narayanachar is a senior person and a section of media is indulging in propaganda about his reported wealth, gold, cash and other valuables inside his house. All the reports are speculative and are baseless. I request the media to desist from publishing or telecasting such reports,” he said. To support his point, Somanna said that extensive search in the area surrounding the Priest’s house had yielded house-hold utensils, puja materials and a silver statue of a God. “This shows that Narayanachar led a simple life and there is propaganda to tarnish his image,” Somanna said.
Ever since the landslide has occurred, there have been no puja rituals at Talacauvery and moreover, earth-movers are still clearing the rubble that has fallen on the road. “Rituals at Sri Bhagandeshwara Temple at Bhagamandala have begun. Priests from Sri Bhagandeshwara Temple will perform pujas at Talacauvery and opinion from Tantris will be sought before commencing the rituals at Talacauvery,” Somanna added.
The Minister said that he and MP Pratap Simha would have to leave to Bengaluru due to urgent COVID work and would be back on Saturday. Till then, Virajpet MLA K.G. Bopaiah would supervise the rescue operations, he said.
MLC Sunil Subramani, MLA K.G. Bopaiah, MP Pratap Simha, Zilla Panchayat Vice-President Lokeshwari Gopal and others were present.