Dalits protest Delhi temple demolition

KARNAL: Following a bandh call by members of the Ravidas community over the demolition of a 15th-century Guru Ravidas temple in Delhi’s Tughlakabad, scores of members of the community blocked National Highway (NH) 44 on Tuesday, inconveniencing commuters.

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Tribune Reporters

Karnal, August 13

Following a bandh call by members of the Ravidas community over the demolition of a 15th-century Guru Ravidas temple in Delhi’s Tughlakabad, scores of members of the community blocked National Highway (NH) 44 on Tuesday, inconveniencing commuters.

The situation remained tense for 105 minutes on NH-44 and hundreds of vehicles were stranded in a jam. Carrying sticks and sharp-edged weapons, the protesters described the demolition of the temple as unfortunate and demanded immediate reconstruction of the temple at the same site.

With an assurance by Deputy Commissioner (DC) Vinay Pratap Singh and Superintendent of Police (SP) Surinder Singh Bhoria of raising their issue with the authorities concerned, the protesters lifted the blockade. They threatened to protest in Delhi on August 21 in support of their demands.

“We have received a memorandum from the community members. As the matter belongs to another state, we will send it to the state government so that it can be forwarded to the government concerned,” said the DC.

Earlier, the community members assembled at Sadar Bazar and started a procession in the city. The police had installed barricades near the Mini-Secretariat, but the protesting youths gave the police the slip and reached NH-44 and blocked the highway. They blocked the road at 12.35 pm and lifted the blockade at 2.20 pm.

Protesters Amit Joshi and Anil Das said that the demolition of the structure had hurt the religious sentiments not only of Dalits, but of all sections of society. Instead of preserving the historical temple, it was demolished. “We demand its reconstruction immediately,” they said.

Ashok, another protester, said that it was a matter of faith for millions of followers of Guru Ravidas in India and outside the country, so it should not have been demolished.

On the other hand, commuters were stuck in the jam which was around 4-5 km on both sides. The traffic police tried to divert traffic from the city, but it created chaos on city roads. “I have to go to Delhi and I am stuck in this jam for more than an hour,” said Sumit, a resident of Kurukshetra.

Ambala: Protesters held demonstrations in various parts of Ambala and Kurukshetra to mark their resentment against the demolition in Tughlakabad.

A large number of Dalits led by various organisations and BSP leaders reached Manav Chowk and blocked the road for nearly one hour, causing inconvenience to commuters. The protesters alleged that the temple had been demolished on a direction from the Central government.

DC Sharandeep Kaur, SP Abhishek Jorwal and other district officials reached the spot and managed to pacify the protesters, following which they lifted the blockade. They submitted a memorandum addressed to the Governor to the DC.

Kaithal: Members of the SC and BC communities took out a procession and raised slogans against BJP government. Dalits assembled in Jawahar Park and reached the Mini-Secretariat in a procession. They submitted a memorandum to DC Priyanka Soni.

105 minutes of drama on NH-44 

  • The situation remained tense for 105 minutes on NH-44 as hundreds of vehicles were stranded in a jam
  • Carrying sticks and weapons, protesters demanded immediate reconstruction of the temple at the same site.
  • With an assurance by DC Vinay Pratap Singh and SP Surinder Singh Bhoria of taking up the matter the authorities, the protesters lifted the blockade
  • They threatened to protest in Delhi on August 21 in support of their demands

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