DW BUREAU / Jalandhar
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will lead a delegation of the Ravidas community to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention over the demolition of its temple in Delhi’s Tughlakabad area on directions of the apex court.
The Chief Minister, who met seers and leaders of the community here on Wednesday, acceded to their request to lead them for a personal meeting with the Prime Minister to seek his intervention in the matter, according to an official spokesperson.
Amarinder also appealed to the community to maintain calm and peace, and ensure that the common people are not hindered in any way by their protests over the issue.
Punjab CM reiterated that his government would extend all legal and financial help to the community in pursuing the case for review of the Supreme Court’s demolition order and rebuilding the temple. The state government would also contribute towards the cost of the land if the Centre agrees to return the temple site to the community, the CM said.
The Chief Minister stressed that he had already sought the Prime Minister’s intervention and had also spoken to Union Minister for Urban Development Hardeep Singh Puri on the issue, which has caused extreme anguish to the community. During the meeting, the Chief Minister also promised to look into the demand of the leaders for withdrawal of the five pending cases against members of the community for the violence that hit Jalandhar in 2009 during protests against the firing at the head of Dera Sachkhand Ballan and his close associate in Vienna. At the meeting, the community was represented by around 25 ‘sants’, including Shri Guru Ravidas Sadhu Sampardai Society president Kulwant Ram, among others.
Amarinder was accompanied by ministers Charanjit Singh Channi, Jalandhar MP Santokh, Sushil Rinku and Raj Kumar Chabbewal, who are among the five members of the committee formed by him to resolve the issue in coordination with the Ravidas community leaders.
Notably, Dalit groups held protests in Punjab on Tuesday also over the demolition of the temple.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday warned against politicising the demolition of the temple in Tughlaqabad forest area in Delhi on its order and threatened to initiate contempt proceedings against those provoking dharnas and demonstrations.
Amid a row over demolition of the temple in a forest area in Tughlaqabad, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had on Tuesday said the Centre is determined to find a solution and possibly identify an alternative site to “relocate” it.