The demolition of three old temples in Alwar has created a political row between the BJP and the Congress. Both sides are still playing a blame game.
Another temple controversy is on the cards. A temple in South Delhi’s Sriniwaspuri has got a demolition notice from the Centre. Local residents are dejected over the notice.The Aam Aadmi Party has been blaming the BJP and termed the act ‘wasooli politics.”
The temple demolition controversy has now started in the national capital. The Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday staged a protest against the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’ (MoHUA) eviction notice sent to a temple in Sriniwaspuri, South Delhi.
An eviction notice dated April 13, issued by the MoHUA, has been pasted at the entry of the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple in Sriniwaspuri. The notice reads, “It has been noticed that you have erected the said religious structure at the project site of Sriniwaspuri. It is an established fact that this is government of India/L & Do land and you have unauthorisedly occupied/encroached upon this government land.
The notice also cites a Delhi High Court order. It says, “The high court has held that except for the portion where idols are installed, the unauthorised construction may be demolished.”
Sriniwaspuri is one of the sites in Delhi that is being redeveloped by central agencies.
As per the MoHUA notice, those in charge of the temple have to vacate the premises; otherwise, the ministry will carry out eviction and demolition work at the site.
Local residents’ reactions
On Saturday, locals reached the temple to express their concern and voice their disapproval of the eviction notice.
Acharya Ranjan Prasad Prashar said, “This temple was renovated in 2002, and I have been the main priest here since then.” The locals have faith in the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. We have received the notice from the central government’s agency.”
A member of the committee that manages the temple trust said, “We would prefer it if the temple is not touched. If the government remains adamant about the demolition, then it should be relocated safely to another site. “
Seeta Pahuja, a local resident, said, “We don’t want our temple to be bulldozed. I have been coming here for the past couple of decades. It is a matter of our faith and it must not be razed down”.
AAP has given BJP the taste of its medicine. The saffron party, which has been protesting and making hue and cry against the demolition of a Shiv Temple in Rajasthan’s Alwar, landed itself in the same position over the temple demolition notice in Delhi.
AAP senior leader Atishi posted an image of the MoHUA notice on Twitter and reached the site to stage a protest on Saturday. She was accompanied by local legislator Madan Lal.
“The Delhi HC order is at least ten years old, why is the BJP suddenly remembering a ten-year-old order? This is the time when their bulldozer politics is being used to extort money from ordinary people from across Delhi, “AAP senior leader Atishi said.
She further added, “They are threatening households, they are threatening shopkeepers with demolition. And now they, the BJP who seek votes in the name of Lord Ram, want money from Lord Ram’s gulak. Is this bulldozer politics going to trample over people’s faith? “
Protest by AAP leaders
However, locals said they do not want the issue to be politicized. Rajni Bhati said, “We don’t want the political leaders to politicise this issue.” We have assembled here with one concern, and that is to ensure the safety of this temple. All that we want is to make sure our temple is not demolished.