Highlights

  • Two temples, some shops destroyed during anti-encroachment drive
  • Rajasthan BJP lashes out at Congress of being behind the demolition
  • Congress alleges BJP ruled municipal board approved demolition

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2 temples in Rajasthan demolished in anti-encroachment drive; BJP-Congress exchange barbs

Two temples were demolished during an anti-encroachment drive in Alwar district's Rajgarh, triggering an exchange of barbs on Friday between the Congress and BJP in Rajasthan

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Friday hit out at the Congress after two temples was demolished in Rajasthan ruled by the party, saying people of the state will take out its final journey for “insulting” the god in such a manner.

In a video message, the saffron outfit's national spokesperson Vinod Bansal said the demolition of the temple in Alwar district of Rajasthan has exposed the Congress' “character” and “tears that it sheds for the jihadis".

"The day rioters attacked at Hanuman Jayanti procession in Jahangirpuri in Delhi, the very next day the Congress government demolished a 300-year-old temple in Rajasthan," the VHP leader said.

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He lashed out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and party's Delhi unit chief Anil Kumar for not saying a word on the demolition in Rajasthan.

"When bulldozers are run over rioters, congress prince tweets from abroad and the party state unit chief goes to meet the rioters but they do not say a word on the demolition of this 300 years old temple in Rajasthan.

“The Congress' character and the tears for that it sheds for the ‘jihadis’ has been exposed,” he said.

"Hindu society will not tolerate it any more. They should understand that that people of Rajasthan will take out their ‘shav yatra’ (final journey) for the way they have insulted the god," Bansal added.

Two temples were demolished during an anti-encroachment drive in Alwar district's Rajgarh, triggering an exchange of barbs on Friday between the Congress and BJP in Rajasthan.

Rajgarh is a BJP-run municipality in Congress-ruled Rajasthan. Alwar's BJP MP Balaknath alleged that the idols at one of the temples too were damaged in the demolition early this week.

Rajasthan Minister Shanti Dhariwal blamed the BJP and said the state government is examining the matter.

Two temples and some shops were demolished on Sunday and Monday with officials describing the action a part of an anti-encroachment drive to widen a road in the town.

They said the demolition was approved by the Rajgarh Nagar Palika Board headed by the BJP and denied any damage to the idols or the sanctum sanctorum of the temples.

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.

Rajgarh SDM Keshav Meena 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,” Meena said.

Other encroachments were mainly due to shops, he added.

Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia accused the Congress of being behind the demolition, with state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra countering him saying the decision was made by the city's municipality headed by the saffron party.

BJP's Rajya Sabha member Kirodi Mal Meena reached Rajgarh on Friday and sat on a dharna in front of a police station there protesting the demolition.

Poonia alleged that videos on social media showed a bulldozer demolishing the 300-year-old Shiva temple in Udaipur.

“It is in the public domain that all these actions were taken at the behest of the state government,” he claimed without elaborating.

The party has also formed a "fact-finding committee" headed by Sikar MP Swami Sumedhanand, he added.

“They will give me a report in three days,” he said. The committee has five members including Sumedhanand.

Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore accused Rajgarh's Congress MLA Johari Lal Meena of being involved in the matter.

Claiming that the idols were damaged, Alwar MP Balaknath accused Rajasthan's Congress government of hurting people's sentiment and working to appease a particular community.

Urban Development Minister Shanti Dhariwal held a press conference along with Food and Civil Supply Minister Pratap Singh Khachariawas to deny the BJP allegations.

No one opposed when the structures were demolished and now a communal atmosphere is being deliberately created, he said.

He said the government is examining the matter and has sought a report.

“The proposal to remove the encroachment was passed in the meeting of the BJP board in Rajgarh Nagar Palika. They demolished it and are now blaming the Congress,” Dhariwal told reporters.

Rejecting Poonia's allegations, PCC chief Dotasra accused the BJP of misleading people and playing politics over religion.

“It is the habit of the BJP and RSS to do bad things and spread communal frenzy. One temple was private but its idols were removed. The second temple was partially demolished but its sanctum sanctorum is safe,” Dotasara said.

He said even during the rule of the former BJP government headed by Vasundhara Raje, hundreds of temples were demolished in Jaipur.

Dotasra asserted that the Congress government does not target any religious place.

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