The civic administration has declared the cut-off date of April 17, 1964, for protecting shrines. The caretakers of all shrines, who claim these structures have come up prior to April 1964, will get 13 days to prove it.
City corporators from across the party line have vehemently opposed the ongoing demolition drive against allegedly illegal shrines. On March 3, the civic administration had issued a circular saying that all religious structures, built prior to 1964, should submit documentary evidence in support of their claims within 15 days. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), however, will not take action against such structures for the next 13 days, while action on the rest of the shrines will continue.
On Friday, corporators had strongly opposed the drive saying that it could have an adverse impact on the law and order situation. “The civic administration should stay ongoing action against all shrines. If the action leads to communal riots, the civic administration would be held responsible for it,” said Sunil Prabhu, Shiv Sena leader in the BMC. The issue has been discussed over two hours in the standing committee.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and advocate Ashish Shelar, said, “The SC clearly said in its order issued on December 7, 2009, that ‘as an interim measure, we direct that henceforth no unauthorised construction shall be carried out or permitted in the name of temple, church, mosque or gurudwara, etc. on public streets, public parks or other public places.”
“The cut-off line for all shrines should not be 1964 but December 2009, the day on which the SC had passed the order.” All other corporators seconded him.
Yogesh Sagar BJP corporator-turned-MLA and Rahul Shewale, chairman of the civic standing committee, threatened that if the municipal commissioner did not stay the action against shrines, he would face a ‘no confidence motion’.
Shewale said, “The civic administration should stay demolition of structures not only prior to 1964, but all structures.”
Civic chief Subodh Kumar was not available for comment. Additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said, “Concerned assistant municipal commissioner of the ward will review the structure and decide.”