300-year-old Shiva temple demolished in Rajasthan; Congress, BJP in blame-game
Jaipur, Apr 22: The BJP and Congress on Friday traded charges over the demolition of two temples during an anti-encroachment drive in Alwar district's Rajgarh town this week.
Rajgarh is a BJP-run municipality in Congress-ruled Rajasthan.
While Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia accused the Congress of being behind the demolition, state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra asserted that it was the decision of the city's municipality headed by the saffron party.
Two temples and some shops were demolished early this week on Sunday and Monday in Rajgarh with officials describing the action as part of an anti-encroachment drive to widen a road in the municipal town.
They said the demolition was approved by the Rajgarh Nagar Palika Board.
The BJP targeted Rajasthan's Congress government over the demolition of temples, saying that the party will have to face its consequences.
Claiming one of the demolished temples to be 300-year-old, Poonia said in Udaipur that the videos on social media showed a bulldozer demolishing the ancient Shiv temple.
"It is in the public domain that all these actions were taken at the behest of the state government," he said.
He said the state BJP has decided to send a party delegation, comprising Sikar MP Swami Sumedhanand, party's state vice president Narayan Singh Dewal and MLA Chandrakanta Meghwal, to Rajgarh.
"They will give me a report in three days," he said.
Refuting Poonia's allegations, PCC chief Dotasra accused the BJP of misleading people and playing politics over religion.
He said even during the rule of the former BJP government headed by Vasundhara Raje, hundreds of temples were demolished in Jaipur.
Dotasra said the proposal of demolition was passed by the Rajgarh municipality board headed by the BJP which alone is responsible for the demolitions.
"It is the habit of the BJP and RSS to commit wrong and spread communal frenzy. One temple was private and idols were removed and the second temple was partially demolished but its sanctum sanctorum is safe," he said.
Dotasra asserted that the Congress government does not target any religious place.
On the demolition in Rajgarh, Alwar collector Nakate Shivprasad Madan said the proposal was passed by the Nagar Palika board and the action was taken in accordance with the decision of the local administration in the presence of police.
"In the meeting of the board headed by its chairman, a proposal to remove encroachments was passed. The executive officer accordingly issued notices and then the demolition was done," the collector said.
Another officer said the Nagar Palika's executive officer had issued notices to 86 people on April 6 to remove encroachments from the road and they were given time. The action of demolition of over 100 structures was taken on April 17 and 18.
He said one temple was completely demolished but the owners of the temples had removed the idols. The second temple was partially demolished but its sanctum sanctorum is safe, he added.
"The one-km stretch of the road is 50 to 54 feet wide in the master plan but it had been reduced to 25-28 feet at present due to encroachments. Encroachments from half of the road were removed earlier and the remaining encroachments were demolished on Sunday and Monday," Rajgarh SDM Keshav Meena said.
Other encroachments were mainly due to shops, he added.