Local residents and members of a city-based NGO staged a protest on Monday in front of the ashram of self-styled godman Asaram near Bhopal airport against reconstruction of a recently demolished wall. The wall was built on the encroached land, authorities said.
Addressing a gathering, Rashtriya Jagran Manch state president Rameshwar Sharma alleged that a builder in connivance with the management of Asaram's ashram and local authorities had encroached 12-metre-wide path, which was used by the farmers to reach out to their fields behind the ashram.
Sharma said even after the authorities removed the encroachment within days, the path was again encroached upon by rebuilding the wall. The protesters demanded immediate removal of the encroachment and action against the culprits.
The NGO claimed that Town and Country Planning had provided for a 12-metre road behind the ashram for farmers to reach out to their fields. However, the activists alleged, the builder and the ashram management encroached upon the prime land of the government.
"If authorities ensure proper demarcation of the revenue land in this area, it will become clear who has encroached upon how much of land," they said. In February this year, Mahant Ravinderdas of Peetamberapeeth Bhopal had demanded that the allotment of 4.04 acre land to the ashram be cancelled as they had flouted the laid down norms and had not sought the required permissions.
This is not the first time that Asaram ashrams have faced land grab charges in the state. The state government has slapped notices on Asaram's ashrams in many districts, including Indore, Gwalior, Khandwa and Dewas, for alleged encroachment on government land, violation of lease conditions, and construction without obtaining land diversion.