High drama was witnessed on Thursday evening as the road dividing Sectors 45 and 50 was opened after followers of the Nangli Ashram, also known as Shiv Shakti temple, blocked it for four days against the estate office for demolishing the ashram at Sector 50.
After tehsildar Amrinder Singh and sub-inspector (SI) Sarita Rao from the Sector 49 police station requested the protesters to vacate the road, the followers agreed to shift the protest venue and continue agitation on the land where the structure had been demolished.
As a preventive measure, police had come with water cannons in case of any resistance from the protesters. Singh said he met the protesters in the morning and requested them to shift from the road.
Even as the followers said they would shift by the evening, it was only after the police force reached the spot that they agreed to do so. “The main road was blocked for several days and people were facing inconvenience. Therefore, we had to open the road,” said Singh.
Ashram head Sant Prem Rameshwara Nand Puri said they would continue with their prayers and peaceful protest till their demands are not fulfilled.
Hindu Parv Maha Sabha president BP Arora said, “We went to the deputy commissioner’s office this morning but he was not available. So we submitted our demands in a letter to his personal assistant. We are planning to visit his office on Friday again.”
The protesters said if the DC did not agree with their demands, they would block the road again.
Sarita Rao said when she visited the ashram 15 days before its demolition to enquire about the encroachment for submitting an assessment report the Nangli followers told her that they had stay orders. “But when the structure was demolished, they failed to produce any stay paper,” she added.
Earlier in the day, deputy commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi told HT, “We have requested the followers to clear the road as this will not solve any purpose except creating inconvenience. We have even offered to rehabilitate the women.”
ADC Amit Talwar said, “It is unfortunate that despite the administration having paid compensation to the land owners, they are resorting to protest.”
The ashram followers on Wednesday created a Facebook page ‘Nangli Ashram-Mandir Protest’ through which they are trying to gather support from all across the country.