The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has approved the allotment of 400 square metres land for the Guru Ravidas Temple in Jahanpanah city forest in Tughlaqabad, and also suggested changing its land use from recreational to public and semi-public for religious use.
The temple dedicated to Saint Ravidas, who is revered and worshipped by Dalits, was demolished on August 10 last year by the DDA following a Supreme Court order in April. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Delhi on August 21 against it, and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar Azad as well as 50 others were arrested in relation to the stir.
The DDA had fought a legal battle with the temple management’s possession of the land, with the Delhi High Court ruling in favour of the DDA, and the Supreme Court upholding the decision and ordering for its demolition.
In October last year, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to provide the necessary land at the same spot where the temple once stood for rebuilding it.
AAP MLA Somnath Bharti on Friday said, “CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal was the first leader to say that the site must be restored because it is a question of faith. Since the time it has formed the government at the Centre, the BJP has always insulted the SC/ST and Dalit community. What is happening in UP is part of the same strategy.”
He added, “Today, an authority meeting of the DDA was held. Last authority meeting of the Delhi Development Authority was held on 13 August 2019. In that meeting, I had observed that the DDA should consider giving the land back to the Guru Ravidas Samiti without any further delay.”
BJP MLA Vijender Gupta, a DDA member, told The Indian Express, “This is a way of fulfilling our commitment. This was done as per the Supreme Court directions, as the Court had to intervene in the legal issue that it was. This shows our dedication towards the Ravidas community. The AAP tried to politicise the issue and are still doing that. Otherwise, this is a victory of the Ravidas community.”
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