NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine the possibility of building a new Ravidas temple in the national capital after the previous structure was razed on its order. The demolition order came after the apex court ruled that the temple had been built on ‘forest land’.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Ravindra Bhat asked all stakeholders to hold consultations with the attorney general and find an appropriate site for constructing the temple.
“We respect sentiments of everybody but we have to follow the law,” the bench said, assuring the petitioners, seeking reconstruction of temple, that it will do the best it can under the law.
The seer-poet from the Bhakti period is revered by Dalits, especially in north and central India. The demolition of the temple on August 10 took a political turn after Dalit protesters, led by Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar Azad, descended on the streets of the national capital and blocked traffic, demanding its restoration at the earliest.
The demolition was ordered after Guru Ravidas Jayanti Samaroh Samiti, the custodian of the temple, failed to vacate the forest area and relocate the shrine elsewhere, as earlier directed by the top court.
Additional solicitor general PS Narasimha informed the court that the temple could be rebuilt at a new location. The next hearing on the case is scheduled for October 18.
In their plea, former MPs Ashok Tanwar and Pradeep Jain Aditya said that the temple site is pious, as prayers had been held there over five to six centuries.