A day after a temple of Maharishi Valmiki was found demolished on the campus of King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow on Wednesday, BSP president Mayawati on Thursday asked the state government to take strict action against those responsible, calling the incident “shameful and condemnable”.
The KGMU authorities, however, said no such demolition order was given, even as an FIR was registered against unidentified staff on Wednesday.
“An old temple of Saint Ravidas was destroyed in Delhi. Then, a Dalit MP from the ruling BJP itself was stopped from entering a temple in Karnataka and now on the campus of Lucknow’s King George’s medical college, a Valmiki temple was forcefully demolished on Wednesday. All these are shameful and highly condemnable,” Mayawati tweeted in Hindi. “Taking these incidents with utmost seriousness, the central and state governments should take immediate strict actions, this is BSP’s demand.”
Congress legislative party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu alleged that the incident is part of a political conspiracy with an intention to hurt the feelings of people sidelined by the society. Alleging the BJP’s hand in the incident, Lallu demanded reconstruction of the temple.
On Wednesday morning, the local residents allegedly found the broken statue of Valmiki lying a few metres away from the temple whose one of the walls was damaged. This led to a protest by the members of the Valmiki community.
According to Pankaj Kumar Singh, Station House Officer (SHO) of Chowk police station in Lucknow, an FIR was lodged on the complaint of Shyamlal Valmiki, general secretary of a Valmiki Samaj organisation, against the KGMU administration under sections 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 427 (mischief causing damage) of the IPC.
The KGMU administration claimed that no such order to demolish the temple was issued by them. Asking the Chowk police to take necessary action against those responsible for the demolition, KGMU chief proctor R A S Kushwaha said that reconstruction of the temple has been started. “On Wednesday around 11 am we were informed that someone has demolished the Valmiki temple on our campus. After visiting the site, we informed the local police and started reconstruction of the temple. We request you to take cognisance of the matter…,” Kushwaha wrote in a letter addressed to the SHO of Chowk police station.
Singh said that Kushwaha’s complaint was added to the FIR registered earlier. “An investigation is on. The administration has said they had only given an order to level the land near the temple. It is suspected that those involved in levelling the land are responsible for the demolition and action will be taken against them following investigation. As per our investigation so far, no order of any kind of demolition was given by the KGMU administration,” said the SHO, adding that there was no law and order situation in the area as the temple is being reconstructed.