Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje at the foundation stone laying ceremony of Maharana Pratap Indoor Stadium in the Sports Village of Udaipur. (Photo: PTI)
Backed by the Sangh Parivar, the BJP government in Rajasthan ignored public protest and went ahead with removal of 250-year-old historic Gauri Shankar Mahadev temple in Jaipur’s walled city on Wednesday. The temple was coming in way of the second phase of Jaipur Metro between Chandpol and Bari Chaupar.
Anticipating strong public protest led by Dharohar Bachao Samiti (save heritage committee), the police had arrested its 12 members on Tuesday evening while they were trying to perform mahaaarti at the temple. on Wednesday, a huge police force was deployed and the entire area was cordoned off to keep protesters away and help Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) and Jaipur Metro administration to carry out the operation smoothly.
Even, the media was not allowed to take photographs initially. The policemen misbehaved and manhandled with mediapersons in which cameras of two photographers got damaged. Later, on the order of the district collector camerapersons were allowed but soon the entry was restricted again.
Earlier, the government, which has been facing stiff resistance from the public over removal of temples coming in way of Jaipur Metro’s 2.3km underground route, tried to convince devotees to give up their opposition to the temple removal by claiming that Narayan Dasji Maharaj, a highly-respected saint and head of Triveni Dham, had given his consent, which he flatly denied.
However, after facing public ire over the demolition of over 100 ancient and historic temples last year, this time, the government has been treading cautiously and instead of demolition it has decided to shift the temple. Urban development and housing minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat said that after a technical study of the Metro construction without displacing the temple, it was decided that there was no other way as that would have damaged the idols in it. “After completion of the Metro work, the temple will be reinstated at the same place,” he said.
But, none of this would have been possible if sangh parivar had not chosen to look the other way. Although, VHP leader Pravin Togdia during his visit to Jaipur a couple of months ago had said that temple should not be removed whether metro is completed or not but its leaders put the onus on mandir bachao samiti (save temple committee) was formed with Sangh’s patronage as a damage control exercise after sensing public mood against its silence as over 100 temples including historic Rojgareshwar Mahadev were demolished.
The Samiti said to have given consent to shifting of Gauri Shankar Mahadev temple on pretext that the temple is being shifted not demolished and would be reinstated on the same place after the metro work is over.