Dalit outfits called for a statewide bandh in Punjab on August 13 to protest the recent reported demolition of the Sri Guru Ravidas temple in Tughlakabad in Delhi, on the order of the Supreme Court, even as Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to personally intervene to resolve the tension.
The Chief Minister’s appeal came after state-wide protests by members of the community, under the banner of the Guru Ravidas Jayanti Samaroh Samiti. The Samiti has also announced that it will observe 15th August as a “Black Day”.
On Sunday, All India Adi-Dharm Mission and Sadhu Samaj president Satwinder Heera held a joint press conference with president of Sadhu Samperdaye, Sant Sarwan Das, in Jalandhar. Both announced that the Sadhu Samperdaye Society, Dr Ambedkar Sabhas and other Dalit organisations in the state will observe a bandh on August 13. They said they will also observe a one-day protest at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi on August 21. About the August 13 protest, they said that peaceful demostrations will be held across the state.
On Saturday, National Highway-1 was blocked at several places by members of the Ravidasia community.
Taking serious note of these protests, the CM, in a statement said that while he did not wish to comment on the SC judgment and that he was personally not in favour of demolition of structures of historical importance.
He appealed to the community to call off their protests as his government was ready to extend its full support to them to get the matter amicably resolved with the Centre. While appealing to the Prime Minister to step in for a resolution, Amarinder also spoke to Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri to seek re-allotment of the same site, which reportedly belongs to the Delhi Development Authority, to enable the community to reconstruct the temple.
Extending legal and financial assistance to the community to take the matter forward, the CM constituted a five-member committee to meet religious and political representatives. The committee consists of MP Santokh Singh, and MLAs Charanjit Singh Channi, Raj Kumar Chabbewal, Aruna Chaudhary and Sushil Kumar Rinku.