JAIPUR: After UP, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, now bulldozers have sparked off a major row in Rajasthan. Politics has heated up after bulldozers were run on a 250-year-old temple which came in the way during an anti-encroachment drive in Alwar district. The BJP says that the Congress is doing politics of revenge. But the Congress has retaliated by saying the action was initiated by a BJP board in Rajgarh municipality where this controversial move took place.
The issue gained attention after the video of a JCB running over the temple while widening the road at Sarai roundabout in Rajgarh town went viral. Buildings and shops were demolished without any compensation citing the master plan of the town. In this drive, two temples built in Sarai Bazar were also demolished. This included one temple which was nearly 250 years old and a bulldozer was used to raze it.
The administration says that according to the master plan, action has been taken to remove encroachments in Rajgarh. According to revenue records, there is a road of about 60 feet there but now it is not even 25 feet wide. Over the years, there had been a lot of encroachments. Angry Hindu organisations in their complaint to the police have expressed their opposition and accused Congress MLA from Rajgarh Johri Lal Meena, SDM Keshav Kumar Meena and EO Banwari Lal Meena of the municipality. They argue that such drives are being run to incite riots and claim that though they have given a written complaint to the Rajgarh police station, till now the police have not registered an FIR in this case. In protest against this entire action, Hindu organisations reached the police station and expressed their anger. The priest of the temple Harishkar said, "The temple of the stepwell is ancient and for many years, devotees visit and worship is done in the morning and evening. After the demolition, there is no trace of the idols."
While the Chairman of the Municipality Board says that this action has been taken at the level of the administration, local officials say that the resolution has been passed at the level of the Municipality Board and it is only on that basis that encroachments were removed. In fact, in the master plan of 2012, it is a road of 60 feet and action has been taken referring to this master plan.
But the Congress is blaming the BJP for this situation. A video of Rajgarh MLA Johri Lal Meena is going viral on social media. In this video, Meena is seen telling people that you have made a BJP board, so this sabotage is taking place. Meena even says, “When you have sown an Acacia tree, where will mangoes come in it.” He says that 34 councillors of the BJP have given their consent to remove the encroachments and Congress has only one councillor.
BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said that it is very sad to attack a temple of God in the name of development. He also targeted Rahul Gandhi and said he was carrying forward the politics of vote bank with the spirit of revenge.
However, Congress state chief Govind Singh Dotasra retaliated by accusing the BJP of playing politics. Dasara said that in 2018, "The BJP Mandal President had written a letter to the Collector recommending the removal of this encroachment. Even now, there is a BJP board in Rajgarh. It is headed by Satish Sharia. The resolution to remove this encroachment was passed in the board meeting. Only then has this encroachment been removed. Temples are not tampered with in the Congress government, this has been the agenda of the BJP." During the previous BJP government under Vasundhara Raje, 300 temples were removed in the name of removal of encroachment in Jaipur, he said.
Meanwhile, the Alwar district administration has also issued a factual report of the illegal encroachment drive in the Rajgarh Municipality area on April 17, saying that no discrimination has been done in removing encroachment. District Collector Alwar Nakate Shivprasad informed that the decision for the demolition drive was taken unanimously in the second meeting of the newly elected Municipality Board on September 6, 2021. During the removal of encroachments, action was taken on two pre-built temples. Out of them, one temple, which was built recently, was completely built on top of the existing drain.
"The idols installed in the private temple built on the drain were removed by the builders themselves before the encroachment was removed. Due to being an obstacle in the way of the second temple, only a negligible and partial part of the temple was removed. 'Garbhagriha ' of the temple is completely safe. In the removed part, the idols of deities have been removed with respect. In place of the removed idols, the process of installing new idols by rituals is being done by the Municipality Rajgarh," he said.