Plea in SC for re-construction of Ravidas Temple

Plea in SC for re-construction of Ravidas Temple

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A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking permission for re-construction of Guru Ravidas Temple in Tughlaqabad forest area here which was demolished by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) following the apex court's direction, saying it is pious site and worshipped for last 500-600 years.

The temple's demolition had led to a series of protests in places like Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana and the apex court had on August 19 directed the authorities in these areas to ensure that no law and order situation is created politically or otherwise.

The petition has been filed by two former members of parliament -- Ashok Tanwar and Pradeep Jain Aditya -- who have sought enforcement of their right to worship which, they alleged, "is being denied to them due to demolition" of the temple and 'Samadhi' in Tughlaqabad.

The petitioners have said that they are devout followers of Saint Guru Ravidas and used to pray regularly at the site.

"The site at which the temple/Guru Dham and 'Samadhi' were present is pious and of immense faith to the believers as Saint Guru Ravidas had stayed at the site, and it was given to him by Sultan Sikander Lodhi in 1509," the plea said.

It said that the land, where the temple was situated, is of "utmost historical and religious importance" to all followers of Saint Guru Ravidas as the Guru himself had lived there.

The plea said that on August 10, the DDA demolished the temple and also took out the idol of Saint Guru Ravidas, which was kept there, away from the site.

"It is submitted that the site itself is pious and has been worshipped for the last 500-600 years and is protected as per the provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991," it said.

The plea said that the temple and adjoining structures had been present there for the last 600 years and prior to any master plans and hence, "no violation can be caused by a historical structure, which has come under green zone under laws which are subsequent to structure."

"Followers of Saint Guru Ravidas are Hindus from oppressed communities and have been historically discriminated, because of which they were given special constitutional protection through reservations," it said.

"These medieval saints, who are part of the sufi culture are a common heritage of the sub-continent. Accordingly, Kartarpur Sahib has been protected in Pakistan. However, instead of protecting our common historical and religious heritage, the Temple/Guru Dham was demolished," the plea said.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, while hearing another matter related to the temple, had on August 19 said its orders on temple cannot be given a "political colour".

The DDA had demolished the temple pursuant to the orders of the apex court, which had on August 9 observed that "serious breach" had been committed by Guru Ravidas Jayanti Samaroh Samiti by not vacating the forest area as earlier ordered by the top court.

The top court had earlier warned against politicising the temple's demolition and said it would initiate contempt proceedings against those provoking protests and demonstrations.

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