Thousands Of Dalits Hit The Streets Of Delhi Protesting Against The Demolition Of Ravidas Temple
A week after the demolition of the Ravidas temple in the Tughlakabad region of Delhi, people from Dalit organisations took to streets to protest. The stretch between Jhandewalan and Ramilan Maidan on August 21 was crowded with Bhim Army raising voice against the demolition of the temple. The march of the protestors was headed to the site where the demolition took place.
Bhima Sena chief Chandrasekhar Azad led the protests despite being stopped by the police. He told The Hindu that they would protest until the temple is built again. Delhi’s Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam and several MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were also present in the protests. The protestors were carrying sticks and flags and were heard chanting ‘Jai Bhim’. They demanded the central government to rebuild the temple.
Both @BJP4India & DDA are responsible for demolition of Shri Guru Ravidas Temple and have attempted to bulldoze our sentiments & devotion
— Adv Harpal Singh Cheema (@HarpalCheemaMLA) August 21, 2019
M.S. Randhawa, Deputy Commissioner of Police had asked the protestors to take a bus as the location was 16 km away and could cause trouble to the citizens.
Massive show of Dalit Power at Ramlila Maidan , Delhi against BJP Government to express their anger against demolition of Sant Guru Ravidas Temple at Tughlakabad, Delhi @kumari_selja #RavidasTemple #ravidasmandir @INCIndia pic.twitter.com/9qUND7UxKW
— P L Punia (@plpunia) August 21, 2019
What was the protest about?
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had razed down the Ravidas temple on August 10 on the orders of the Supreme Court. The apex court had found that there was a “serious breach” committed by Guru Ravidas Jayanti Samaroh Samiti after it failed to vacate the forest area.
After the demolition of the 500-year-old temple, protests have emerged in multiple areas in Delhi and Punjab by political parties and members of the Dalit community.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had earlier mentioned that he would lead a delegation of Ravidas community members to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seek his intervention. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had also said that a SAD-BJP representative would meet the Prime Minister and urge him to provide a piece of land for rebuilding the temple.
The top court had asked the government of Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi to maintain law and order during the ongoing protests and warned not to politicise its order.