The Uttarakhand government is waging an anti-encroachment campaign to tear down any unlawfully erected religious buildings on public property. One mazar and one shrine that were reportedly erected illegally on the highways were destroyed on Saturday by the Haridwar district.
According to accounts, the Hanuman temple at Singhdwar, located beneath a flyover on the Haridwar-Delhi highway, was around 50 years old, while the mazar at Aryanagar was over three decades old.
The effort has so far cleared around 56 hectares of land in the state by demolishing 200 graves and 27 temples. According to Parag Madhukar Dhakate, chief conservator of forests and special secretary to the chief minister, “The search for encroachments on forest land is ongoing. There are numerous types of encroachments on forest property, including as hutments, resorts, residences, etc. So far, we have removed 227 unlawfully erected religious buildings, including 200 tombs (mazaars) and 27 temples from forest territory throughout the state.
Dhakate was chosen on April 19 to serve as the nodal officer for locating and demolishing these illegitimate buildings that were constructed for a variety of reasons, including religious activities.
The authorities destroyed two unlawfully constructed mazars two days earlier.
According to the reports, Deputy Collector Puran Singh Rana said that the Supreme Court and the High Court's rulings were the basis for this action being done in accordance with the law. He said that the current state of law and order is normal and that nobody will be permitted to impose their own laws. Rana described the measures as fair and said that unlawful encroachments on public property will be removed regardless of the community to which they belonged.
After a cabinet meeting last week, the state's chief minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, informed the media, “Until today, land in the state was being acquired without any cheque. The same will now be permitted after a background check on the purchasers to ascertain their motivations for purchasing real estate in the state as well as their travel and residency intentions.
He spoke about preventing unauthorised religious encroachments and expressed worry about “demographic changes” in the state. According to reports, Dhami would not let “land jihad” to occur and said that he has “identified roughly 1,000 places where mazaars (tombs) and other structures have been built illegally.”
The Congress questioned the action, drawing attention to the need to address “demographic imbalances.” According to reports, Mathura Dutt Joshi, the vice president of the state Congress, stated, “People in the state demand employment and a stop to corruption. To distract people's attention, the BJP administration is removing mazaars from forest land in instead of accomplishing that.
The Bharatiya Janata Party's state coordinator, Manveer Singh Chauhan, reportedly denied Congress' accusation that they were “hiding their failures with religious polarisation,” saying instead that “the government is removing religious encroachments of all kinds and not targeting any one particular community.” Congress has a propensity of unduly politicking problems, he said. On this matter, too, they are engaging in their time-honored appeasement tactics.