On a day when Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri met the Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to seek a “solution” to the issue of demolition of Ravidas temple in Tughlakabad last week, the Supreme Court warned against “politicisation” of the issue.
The Supreme Court-ordered demolition was carried out by Delhi Development Authority, which the L-G is the chairperson of. The demolition has led to protests by members of the Dalit community in various parts of Punjab.
“Don’t think we are powerless. We know the seriousness of the issue,” a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said when the counsel appearing for the Guru Ravidas Jainti Samaroh Samiti referred to the agitation in Punjab.
“Don’t speak a word and don’t aggravate the issue. You are in for contempt. We will haul up your entire management. We will see what has to be done,” the bench, also comprising Justice M R Shah and Justice Ajay Rastogi, said while requesting Attorney General K K Venugopal to assist in the matter.
The bench added that the “issue cannot be politicised”. “We will start contempt. It cannot be like this,” it said.
Meanwhile, Puri, after meeting Baijal, tweeted: “We, along with V-C DDA, are determined to find a solution and possibly identify an alternate site where the temple can be relocated. We have also suggested to the affected parties to appeal to Hon’ble Court to issue necessary directions in this regard.”
DDA member and AAP MLA Somnath Bharti said he had also met the L-G and demanded that the temple be rebuilt at the same location.
The Supreme Court had on August 9 ordered demolition of the temple, which is inside Jahanpanah forest area, directing DDA and Delhi Police to file a compliance report on August 13. The DDA had secured a demolition order from the court, pleading that the structure was unauthorised and was occupying forest land. The demolition was carried out on August 10.
The bench said it will not tolerate criticism of the judgment. “You cannot go on and on and make comments and criticism of the judgment. This is Supreme Court. Don’t invoke politics here,” the bench said.
The AAP had hit out at the DDA and the Centre on Monday, targeting it for the demolition. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has also sought the Prime Minister’s intervention to resolve the matter. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also hit out at BJP for not filing a review petition in SC against the order. He also demanded that the temple be rebuilt.