New Delhi: Delhi units of the BJP and the AAP on Sunday sparred over the demolition of a Hanuman temple as part of the ongoing Chandni Chowk beautification plan.
A senior official of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation(NDMC) said the temple was demolished as an “encroachment” under the High Court order.
“The Home department of the Delhi government in a letter in August 2019 had told the NDMC commissioner that Religious Committee cannot review a matter decided by the court and suggested the municipal corporation to take appropriate action as per High Court order,” he said.
Both the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) blamed each other for the demolition.
The AAP alleged that the BJP-ruled MCD demolished the 100-year-old Hanuman temple.
Senior AAP leader and Delhi municipal corporation in-charge Durgesh Pathak said the “real face of the BJP, which calls itself a pro-Hindu party, has been exposed in front of the entire country today”.
Hitting back, the BJP’s Delhi unit condemned the demolition and claimed that the temple was demolished as part of the ongoing Chandni Chowk beautification plan being implemented by the AAP government.
“The BJP has hurt the sentiments of millions of Hindus in this country today by demolishing the 100-year old Hanuman temple in Chandni Chowk,” Pathak said.
Quoting an affidavit filed by the BJP-ruled Municipal Corporation in the court in this regard, Pathak said the BJP-ruled municipal corporation, in its affidavit, had clearly expressed its willingness to abandon the Hanuman temple and on Saturday night, “it completed whatever it had stated”.
“Now, the BJP is telling a lie before the media. But the BJP can no longer escape from its misdeeds. The BJP-ruled municipal corporation had given an affidavit in writing in this regard in the court, which is proof that the Hanuman temple was demolished last night by the BJP. If it is not true, why is the BJP silent even though such a big incident has taken place?” he said.
BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor wrote a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, condemning the demolition of the temple and demanded that it be reconstructed.
Kapoor said that locals had protested the Delhi government’s Chandni Chowk beautification plan as it involved the demolition of three religious structures.
“After protests, Delhi Government’s Religious Committee reviewed two matters related to another community and exempted them from demolition but the committee never considered the case of Hanuman Mandir as a result of which it was demolished,” the Delhi BJP spokesperson alleged.
The Delhi government should come forward to reconstruct it, he said.
Kapoor suggested the temple may be rebuilt opposite to Moti Bazar itself on the central verge and idols replaced there or a new temple be constructed at Ghanta Ghar Chowk.
The Mayor of the BJP-ruled NDMC alleged the temple was demolished under “pressure” of the Delhi government.
“The Delhi government, which is doing the redevelopment work in Chandni Chowk in the name of Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Board, is directly responsible for the demolition,” he charged.
The Delhi government through its August 2019 letter “directed” the corporation to remove the encroachment in the shape of a temple in Chandni Chowk, he alleged.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.