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Dargah demolition could have been avoided: Govt

The Home Ministry also said such actions should be taken after due thought. Is the demolition of dargah justified?

india Updated: May 04, 2006 16:40 IST

The Vadodara administration could have avoided demolition of a dargah in view of the people's sentiments associated with the old shrine, Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal is understood to have stated in a report to the government.

Jaiswal, who visited violence-torn Vadodara on Monday, is believed to have also said in his report that while a district administration has the right to launch drives to demolish illegal structures, decisions to raze religious places, which were centuries old, should be taken after due deliberations keeping in mind the sentiments of the people.

The subsequent firing by police to contain the mob violence following the demolition could also have been avoided, the Minister is understood to have said.

"I have nothing to say on the report. The foremost need is to contain the violence in Vadodara and bring peace and normalcy there. The Centre is willing to provide all necessary assistance to the Gujarat authorities to deal with the situation," Jaiswal said in New Delhi on Thursday.

Asked if the steps taken by the Centre to curb the violence came in the backdrop of post-Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002, Jaiswal said "the Government always goes by experiences in the past...I have full confidence that the state authorities will take all measures required to quell the violence and restore peace."

Jaiswal, who returned to the capital on Tuesday after an assessment of the situation in the trouble-torn city, submitted his report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil that same evening, informed sources said.

The report is understood to have said demolition of old dargahs, temples, gurdwaras or other religious places could hurt sentiments of the people who were attached to them.

Jaiswal said the Centre has sent para-military forces to Vadodara and Ahmedabad and also given directions to the Army to prevent any escalation of tension.

The Minister said he was attending a May Day rally in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh when he was asked by the Government to proceed to Vadodara for assessment of the situation.

The state authorities, he said, are in touch with the Centre and have been sending their reports to the Home Ministry.

The situation at present in Vadodara is "largely" under control, Jaiswal said.

First Published: May 04, 2006 10:01 IST