New Delhi: After protest by dalits against the demolition of a Ravidas temple in Delhi’sTughlakabad area turned violent, on Wednesday night, the Delhi Police detained Bhim Army chief and dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad “Ravan”, along with nearly 100 others. Dalits consider Ravidas as their saint.
Thousands of protesters had gathered at the iconic Ramlila Maidan to protest against the Supreme Court-mandated demolition, causing massive traffic jams in several areas of the city. DelhiDevelopmentAuthorityofficials, who carried out thedemolition, said the temple was built on forest land.
At the protest, Azad announced that they would install a bust of Sant Ravidas at the site of the demolished temple and began a march to the site along with his supporters. He added, “The demolition of the temple was an insult to our community and I will go to any extent to fulfil the promise (of installing bust) made by me to my people. No force can stop us.”
The issue has taken a political hue with various parties demanding that the temple be reconstructed either at the same spot in Tughlakabad forest area or at an alternative location.
Meanwhile BSP supremo Mayawati, after the demolition of the temple, had alleged that the incident reflected a “casteist mentality”.
Responding to Mayawati’s allegation, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi government had nothing to do with the demolition of the temple. Union Housing and Urban Development minister Hardeep Singh Puri had also said that the Centre was determined to find a solution and possibly identify an alternative site to “relocate” the temple.