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Dalit Leader with 90 Others Arrested After Clashes In South Delhi Over Temple
The demolition of the Ravidas temple in a forest area in south Delhi's Tughlakabad on August 10, based on the Supreme Court's orders, has turned political with many parties demanding that the temple be reconstructed either at the same spot or at an alternative location.
New Delhi: Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad and 90 others protesters were arrested last evening after a massive fuss in Delhi against the demolition of a temple in the city dedicated to the 16th century renowed poet-saint Ravidas. Violent protesters damaged several vehicles and two motorcycles were set at fire, reports police. 15 police personnel and several people have been injured in the protest.
The demolition of the Ravidas temple located in forest area in south Delhi's Tughlakabad on August 10, based on the Supreme Court's orders, has turned political with many parties demanding that the temple be reconstructed either at the same spot or at an alternative location.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted in Hindi this morning that "This insult to the voice of Dalits is intolerable. This is an emotive issue. Their voices must be respected."
The Congress general secretary also stated in her previous tweet that "The BJP government first toys with the culture of Dalit brothers and sisters using the Ravidas temple and when thousands of Dalit brothers and sisters raise their voice, then the BJP uses batons and tear gas on them and arrest them."
Today in Delhi court, Chandrashekhar Azad who heads the Bhim Army and the others arrested will be produced.
"At around 7:30 pm, the mob that gathered at Ravidas Marg turned unruly and became violent despite persuasion and appeal by police to maintain peace and started pelting stones and attacking policemen," senior police officer Chinmoy Biswal said.
There is no injury to the protesters confirmed Police.
Thousands of Dalits, who trooped into Delhi from states such as Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh marched from Ambedkar Bhawan in central Delhi to Ramlila Maidan.
Amid the protest, capital faced long jams in several areas.
The protesters are demanding rebuilding of the temple by the centre or handing over of the plot to the community and rebuild the temple.
Ravidas was one of the key faces of the bhakti movement between the 15th 16th centuries. Hymns written by him are included in the Guru Granth Sahib. He is considered as the founder of 21st-century Ravidassia religion.
The protest in Delhi came a week after a similar protest of Dalits in Punjab on August 13.
Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in ensuring that the land be given back to the Ravidas community to rebuild the place of worship.
BJP leader and former union minister Vijay Goel criticised the AAP for allegedly politicising the issue. "I have proposed that the temple be built at an alternative place after the approval of the Supreme Court. If they agree, we will take the matter up with the DDA," he said.
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