AHMEDABAD: It was a shocker for the regular commuters passing by IIM-A road on Friday. The famous Bhidbhanjan Hanuman temple adjoining IIM wall was missing. The temple, frequently thronged by senior bureaucrats, IPS and police officials and thousands of devotees during Tuesdays and Saturdays, was demolished midst tight police security late on Thursday night.
Police officials said that they anticipated trouble but no untoward incident was reported either on Thursday or Friday. In principal, the temple managers have been given permission to keep a small place for the deity at the original spot.
Akka Bharwad, one of the caretakers of the temple, showed displeasure at the gesture of AMC. “In earlier talks, the civic officials had said that they would raze around 9 feet of the construction due to expansion of the adjoining road. However, when the demolition team arrived late on Thursday, they razed the entire structure. The officials have, however, assured that we can keep the idol at the same place and perform daily pooja. We have been promised space for the small temple under the flyover that will be constructed soon,” he said.
The temple was a thriving place due to nearby kitlis where the youngsters would throng in the night for a cup of tea. On a regular Saturday evening, there would be 15 to 20 cars parks on the opposite side of the road at any given time with travelers getting down for ‘darshan’ at the temple that would be open till late in the night. – Times of India, Mumbai, Feb 25, 2012
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s estate department razed the 31-year-old Bhid Bhanjan Hanuman Temple near the Indian Institute of Management in Vastrapur. The demolition is part of the drive by the civic body to clear city roads of encroachments to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
However, this hasn’t gone down well with the temple administration and devotees.The structure was razed on Thursday night amidst protestations by Congress workers and VHP activists.
An angry administrator of the temple Mafatbhai Thakor, told Mirror, “I have been offering prayers at this temple since I was 10 years. We were not informed about the decision to demolish the entire structure. We were informed about it by the devotees who saw the bulldozers near the temple and got worried. I rushed to the spot but the officials were not ready to listen to my pleas. They had promised that around six feet of the structure would be allowed to remain. Now they have razed the entire temple. All these officials will face the wrath of Lord Hanuman.”
Presently, the idol of the lord has been placed on a slab of stone at the temple site. The temple administrators are adamant that the statue will remain at the site. The temple has been demolished to make way for a bridge for which soil test has already been conducted.
Temple officials claim that thousands of devotees visit the place of worship every day. “On every Saturday, more than 6,000 devotees visit the temple. From judges to IPS officials, several well-known people are devotees of Bhid Bhanjan Hanuman. Former police commissioner Amitabh Pathak and ACP K R Bhuva also visit this temple,” said Thakor.
Even the devotees were outraged by the callous behaviour of the AMC officials. Bhuvneshwari Vyas, resident of Mansi Towers in Vastrapur, said, “The authority should have come up with an alternative to razing the temple completely. I have been visiting the temple for last four years. This way, the AMC has only managed to hurt the sentiments of people.” Vyas brought out the idol of the lord from the rubble after the authorities demolished the temple.
The priest of the temple, Jayvardhan Joshi said, “The temple has been here for past 31 years. All these years, no one had a problem. Suddenly, the temple became an obstacle? What the civic body has done is very wrong.”
Demolition for development
When contacted Mayor Asit Vora told Mirror, “The demolition of the temple was essential for the development in the city. Hence we ordered the razing of the temple.” There are around 1604 illegally built religious structures, on the roads or on plots owned by AMC.
Duty over religion
The two AMC officials who led the demolition team to raze the Bhid Bhanjan Hanuman Temple are ardent followers of the lord. But, on Thursday, they chose duty over religion. Deputy Estate and Town Development Officer H R Shah and Assistant Town Development Officer Manish Mastar believe that the demolition was just part of their duty and it has in no way shaken their faith in the powers of Lord Hanuman. “I am an ardent worshipper of Lord Hanuman. But God should be in our hearts, not on roads. The demolition was part of my job,” said Shah. Mastar agreed with him. – Ahmedabad Mirror, Ahmedabad, Feb. 25, 2012
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