Temple row in Budhwar peth results in tension

Jan 31, 2013, 09:01 IST | Vivek Sabnis

Volunteers of Ganpati mandal, which erected a temple illegally on land belonging to PMC close to Dagadusheth Halwai Temple, have a standoff with cops when told to remove the structure

Tension prevailed near Shrimant Dagadusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple in Budhwar Peth area, after volunteers of a Ganesh mandal refused to remove the illegal makeshift structure yesterday. Tempers flared after the Vishrambaug police — as part of the drive to ensure that that the Dagadusheth Halwai temple was not susceptible to a terror threat — asked that a makeshift temple erected without permission barely 200 metres from the iconic place of worship, be removed. 

Safety matters: Volunteers gather near the shed, which serves as a temple erected by a Sarvajanik Ganpati Mandal at Budhwar Peth, after the police asked that it be removed

Volunteers of the mandal argued with the police and refused to budge, leading to the arrest of three persons under sections 12 and 17 of the Bombay Police Act. “Because of security reasons at the Dagadusheth Halwai Temple, our temple may be removed. The local police have already cut the lock on the temple and replaced with another one,” Vrishali Bhagat said. “We have been in the same place since the 70s and our mandal was officially registered in 1993.” 

According to Makarand Ranade, DCP (Zone I), the land on which the temple has been erected belongs to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) “The decision to get the temple moved is so that the area can be free for movement on the background of the security issue. Like the PMC, we are not in favour of any encroachment in the area. We are also aware that the land on which the temple has been erected belongs to the PMC. The civic authority will take the final decision in this regard,” Ranade said.

Senior Police Inspector Arjun Sakunde said, “No Ganpati mandal can have a temple even if they are officially registered. The charity commissioner and the city police give permission for mandals to display deities for only 10 days during the festival.”   Mahesh Suryavanshi, treasurer, Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Trust and Temple, said, “Action taken by the police against the Budhwar Peth Sarvajanik Mandal is nothing to do with Dagdusheth Ganpati temple. If there is a security threat, the mandal activist should sort it out with the police and PMC officials. We don’t have any rivalry with any mandal in the city. In fact, we coopered with the PMC and police when our own shop was razed during an anti-encroachment drive conducted by the municipality on Monday.”  

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