Gujarat: Ahead of maha-aarti, cops detain protesters

About 15 persons, including three women, were detained by the Sama police in Vadodara for trespassing on the Sanjaynagar property after the group tried to perform a maha-aarti at the small temple located on the premises.

By: Express News Service | Vadodara | Published: April 13, 2016 2:49 am
Protesters at Hanuman temple in Vadodara on Tuesday.  Bhupendra Rana Protesters at Hanuman temple in Vadodara on Tuesday. Bhupendra Rana

The Sama police Tuesday detained some locals and Congress party leaders for trying to hold a maha-aarti at the Hanuman temple that stands inside the Sanjaynagar redevelopmet plot.

About 15 persons, including three women, were detained by the Sama police in Vadodara for trespassing on the Sanjaynagar property after the group tried to perform a maha-aarti at the small temple located on the premises.

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On Monday, the Hanumanji Mandir Sansthan, which is being backed by local Congress leaders had sought police permission to perform a maha-aarti at the hands of the priest Bhanwarilal Bharadwaj at the plot, where the temple stands. Bharadwaj has claimed that the temple is 90-years-old and the developer cannot demolish the structure as per the Supreme Court rules. Bharadwaj was arrested earlier on Monday, when he had tried to make his way into the temple. The group had even printed invitation cards for the Maha-aarti event.

The police had denied permission to the group stating, “The Vadodara Municipal Commissioner has handed over the possession of the premises in question to Manav Infrastructure that is developing the Mukhyamantri Gruh Yojana scheme. In such a case, there is no existence of a temple on the premises. The permission to perform the aarti cannot be granted.”

On Tuesday, at about 5:30 pm, the group gathered at the venue and was joined by Congress leaders. However, even before they could begin the scheduled cleaning of the temple structure, the police detained the group.

Congress city vice-president Shailesh Amin said, “The temple standing on the premises has been there since several decades. As per the Supreme court rules, any old place of religious importance cannot be demolished thoughtlessly. We are agitating against the developer’s illegal encroachments on the premises that primarily belongs to the government and is meant for the government scheme. It is not his private property. The police action against a gullible temple priest shows that they can forgo the religion they preach about for commercial gains.”

While a police officer of the Sama police station said that “probe was on”, in the matter, the Sanjaynagar redevelopment has run into much controversy – first, over the alleged encroachment on the Vishwamitri swamp by the developers, who constructed a retention wall, then by calling bookings for a proposed mall on the premises, which is yet to seek the approval of the civic authority and more recently, the alleged demolition of the local temple located on the premises where the settlement stood.”

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