North MCD demolishes temple in Chandni Chowk | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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North MCD demolishes temple in Chandni Chowk

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAshish Mishra
Jan 04, 2021 03:06 AM IST

A senior north corporation official said the planners had noted several encroachments on the road, including the temple. In 2015, while taking stock of the progress of the redevelopment plan, the high court had directed the North MCD and the Delhi government to remove all encroaching structures, including the temple.

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation demolished a temple in Chandni Chowk early on Sunday morning on the directions of the Delhi high court, sparking a political blame game between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party.

The temple, located on the road which is being redesigned only for pedestrians only as part of the Chandni Chowk redevelopment plan, was declared “illegal” by the high court and the order for its removal was passed in 2015.(Image via Twitter)
The temple, located on the road which is being redesigned only for pedestrians only as part of the Chandni Chowk redevelopment plan, was declared “illegal” by the high court and the order for its removal was passed in 2015.(Image via Twitter)

The temple, located on the road which is being redesigned only for pedestrians only as part of the Chandni Chowk redevelopment plan, was declared “illegal” by the high court and the order for its removal was passed in 2015.

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While the BJP, which rules the north MCD, blamed the AAP for not making attempts to save the temple; the AAP said the demolition has exposed the real face of the BJP. The AAP on Sunday also held a protest against the BJP.

A senior north corporation official, who wished not to be named, said, “The temple was demolished to avoid contempt of court. We just followed the court order.”

A Delhi government spokesperson did not comment on the matter.

Work on the the long-delayed Chandni Chowk redevelopment project, which visualises a decongested and pedestrianised heritage market along the 1.5-km road between Red Fort and Fatehpuri Masjid, had begun in 2018. A special body, Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC), had been set up to execute the project.

A senior north corporation official said the planners had noted several encroachments on the road, including the temple. In 2015, while taking stock of the progress of the redevelopment plan, the high court had directed the North MCD and the Delhi government to remove all encroaching structures, including the temple.

The Delhi government’s religious committee had recommended to the architects to include the temple in the redevelopment plan. The government, in November 2019, petitioned the high court to modify its directions regarding the removal of religious structures. However, the court, overruling the stand of the religious committee of the Delhi government, ordered the removal the unauthorised temple.

The order was challenged by the Delhi government in Supreme Court, which disposed it of after the government said it would move “a suitable application before the high court for further directions, as may be warranted”.

In November 2020, the high court refused to entertain a plea by the Shri Manokamna Siddh Shri Hanuman Seva Samiti, saying that any request to intervene must come from the AAP government itself.

North corporation mayor Jai Prakash alleged that the demolition was carried out “under pressure” from Delhi government “We have written several times to the SRDC not to tamper with the religious places in Chandni Chowk and include them in the redevelopment work and beautify them. Through a letter on August 8, 2019, the Delhi government directed the corporation to remove the encroachment in shape of temple in Chandni Chowk. From 2019, till now we have taken careful decision in this regard and did not demolish the temple but a hearing in this connection was scheduled on January 12 and the officials had to submit a report to the court so they took the action on court directions,” he said.

AAP’s Durgesh Pathak, however, said in an affidavit before the high court, the north MCD had expressed its willingness to abandon the temple.

Pathak said, “The BJP-ruled MCD, in its affidavit, had clearly expressed its willingness to abandon the Hanuman temple and last night it completed whatever it had stated. Now, the BJP is telling a lie before the media. If it is not true, why is the BJP silent even though such a huge incident has taken place? Why has there been no protest by any BJP leader on this incident so far?”

AAP’s chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said that it is a matter of great regret that the north civic body has demolished the Hanuman temple in the Chandni Chowk.“Lord Rama will never forgive the BJP people. The BJP-ruled MCD sought the protection of the police in the darkness of night and demolished the Hanuman temple when it was raining late at night and people were sleeping in their homes. The BJP should respond to the people of the country, what was the hurry to demolish Hanuman temple? The misdeeds of the BJP will not hide in the darkness of the night,” Bharadwaj said.

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