After the demolition of a 300-year-old temple in Rajasthan, the Congress and the BJP are guilty
At a time when bulldozers allegedly targeting sections of the population in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi are at the center of huge political controversy, the demolitions in Rajasthan have sparked allegations of tit-for-tat.
A 300-year-old Shiva temple, 86 shops and houses were bulldozed in Rajasthan’s Alwar district on Sunday to clear the way for a road.
It is the first congressional state caught in the demolitions controversy; so far, the BJP had been accused of fueling communal clashes and then targeting accused of rioting a community.
According to Rajasthan’s ruling Congress, it was the BJP who had promised a road called “Gaurav Path” where the demolitions took place. Vasundhara Raje was the Chief Minister at the time.
Congress alleges that the city council of Rajgarh city, which is controlled by the BJP, passed a resolution to build the road after removing the encroachments in September last year.
The Congress says the Rajgarh City Council has 35 members, 34 of whom are from the BJP.
The Congress government of Rajasthan said that the BJP ordered the demolition because the city council of Rajgarh city is entirely ruled by the BJP, and it is an autonomous body that decides on planning issues.
“It was their decision (from the city council). The state government had nothing to do with it. They never asked the government for direction and they never received any direction from us” , said Shanti Dhariwal, Minister of Urban Development and Housing Department of Rajasthan.
“In fact, when a temple is to be demolished, it should be carefully considered. But Rajgarh City Council has never asked for instructions; it is entirely run by the BJP, which passed a demolition resolution” , said Mr. Dhariwal.
Notices were reportedly issued to affected residents in April by the city council.
Two temples were part of the anti-encroachment campaign, including the Shiva temple. Temple priests were asked to remove the idols before demolition, officials said.
The civic body reportedly requested assistance from the police and other government departments.
On Sunday, when the demolitions took place, local Congressman Johari Lal Meena reportedly objected.
The Rajasthan government has sent a notice to the city council for the anti-encroachment campaign, accusing the BJP of trying to stir up trouble.
The BJP, which is the state’s opposition, in turn accused Congress of double standards. “I have constituted a committee of five members for the factual investigation of the Rajgarh (Alwar) temple matter. This committee will visit the spot, prepare a factual report and submit it to me,” the head of Rajasthan BJP said. , Satish Poonia.
The BJP claims that the district administration contributed to the demolition campaign and that the state government cannot wash its hands of the whole exercise so easily.
“Yes, the city council issued guidelines in 2013 and they passed a resolution again, but the government and the district administration identified the encroachments, so they weren’t careful. They should have been careful when they saw that a temple was involved. We want a judicial inquiry into this case,” Rajasthan Deputy Opposition Leader Rajendra Rathore said.
Amit Malviya, the head of the BJP’s IT unit, shared a video of the incident on Twitter and claimed that no notices were issued and the homes and shops of 85 Hindus were razed to the ground. “On April 18, without issuing any notice, the administration bulldozed the pucca houses and shops of 85 Hindus in the city of Rajgarh in Rajasthan,” Mr Malviya tweeted. “Shedding tears over Karauli and Jahangirpuri and hurting the faith of Hindus – that’s Congress secularism,” he charged.
The row in Rajasthan has surfaced amid political wrangling over demolitions in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri, where communal violence erupted on Saturday. The demolitions were part of an “anti-encroachment campaign” by the BJP-controlled civic body.
Supreme Court hears petition alleging Jahangirpuri demolitions follow disturbing pattern seen in states like Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, of communal clashes, followed by the razing of houses and shops belonging to a section of accused rioters .
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