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HC orders DGP, others to remove illegal religious structures

Written by: Staff

Ahmedabad, May 2: In the wake of violence sparked off due to demolition of a dargah in Vadodara, the Gujarat High Court today ordered the state Director-General of Police (DGP) and other senior officers to take immediate steps to remove encroachment of religious structures at public places without any discrimination.

Taking cognisance of news in a local daily about a mob attacking Nyayamandir, the edifice of judiciary as a suo motu petition, the bench comprising Justice B J Shethna and Justice R P Dholakia asked the respondents to submit their action taken report.

The bench made the DGP of Gujarat as respondent number one, the other respondents being Commissioners of Police (CPs) and Municipal Commissioners and Urban Development Authorities of the major cities in the Municipal Corporations.

The bench passed the order in open court in the presence of Advocate-General Kamal Trivedi, assisted by AGPs Sagita Vishen and Siraj Gori among others.

The judges asked the DGP to provide full protection to the authorities and courts to avoid such incidents in future. They specially asked Vadodara Commissioner of Police to submit his report on the mob attack on the court building in Vadodara yesterday.

The judges took serious note of the rioters trying to enter the court building. The bench took particular note of a newspaper report which said there were 1,200 temples and 260 Islamic shrines on public space as per a survey conducted by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), which were not demolished by the local authority.

In the writ petition, the judges also observed that a road was widened near Thaltej Crossing in Ahmedabad by removing poor slum dwellers, but a new temple has come up in that place.

Encroachment on public road by any one cannot be tolerated as it causes a lot of traffic and other problems for the public. Only a handful of anti-social elements with money and muscle power put up religious structures overnight at public space and start minting money, they said.

If required, the judges suggested, those elements may be booked even before carrying out such demolition drive, as they are simply land grabbers.


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