Thursday 26 May 2022
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Temple demolition: Collector arrested, CM Gehlot made party to dispute

Three mediaeval-era temples in the area — a Shiva temple, one dedicated to Rama and the third and a Chauth Mata temple — were razed to the ground in Sarai Mohalla, Rajgarh, District Alwar, Rajasthan

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Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot has been made a party to the PIL lodged in Rajashthan High Court against the demolition of a 300-year-old temple in Alwar. The district collector, sub-divisional magistrate, officer, municipality and others were also named in the case.

On 23 April, the collector was arrested after being caught accepting a bribe. The Rajasthan’s anti-corruption bureau (ACB) arrested officer Nannu Mal Pahadiya on charges of accepting a Rs 5 lakh bribe. The bureau also arrested Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) officer Ashok Sankhla and the middleman, Nitin Sharma, also in this case, a senior government official in Alwar said.

The action comes days after the state government removed Pahadiya, a 2007 batch officer, as Alwar district collector and district magistrate and posted him as commissioner, departmental enquiries in state capital Jaipur. He was arrested from the Alwar collector’s bungalow, which he was yet to vacate.

Pahadiya’s arrest comes just months before he was to retire in July 2022. The babu has had his share of controversies during his stint in Alwar.

Advocate Amitosh Pareek said that the PIL complains about the demolition drive in District Alwar carried out in an unconstitutional manner, with shops and temples, including the ancient Shiva temple, demolished by the state government in the name of a master plan.

“By vandalising the Shiva temple in an unconstitutional way, the sentiments of Hindu society have been hurt and the fundamental rights of innocent people have been violated. Keeping all these things in mind, we have filed a public interest litigation. The petitioner in this case is Prakash Thakuria and state government has been made the respondent,” he said.

At about 11:00 AM on 17 April, a disturbing rumble of bulldozers, tearing down nearly 90 houses in the area, as part of an alleged anti-encroachment drive, greeted the residents of Sarai Mohalla, Rajgarh, District Alwar, Rajasthan. What rattled the people more than the loss of private property was the ‘destruction’ of three mediaeval-era temples in the area — a Shiva temple, one dedicated to Rama and the third, a “chauth mata’ temple — all three of which were razed to the ground.

“Residents recalled watching in horror, as workers who were part of the demolition drive, allegedly entered the temple premises and used cutters to remove the deities from the temples,” reported ThePrint.

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