Why is frequent murti desecration in Hindu temples ignored?

Two incidents of temple desecration on the same day by unidentified persons have come to light from Aligarh district of Western UP. Murtis of Maa Parvati and Shri Ganesh were broken in a 350 year old Shiva temple in village Jawar, Iglas area. The village has almost equal Hindu and Muslim population. In village Lodha of the same district, the Shivling and Maatarani murti in Lehra temple were desecrated. Hindus of both villages have expressed resentment and the situation is tense. The SP and the CO (Circle Officer) arrived at the location and tried to calm the villagers down. UP Police is engaged in investigation of this incident.

Historic Shiva temple

There is a nearly 350 years old Shiva Temple in Jawar village. The priest of the temple, Pujari Banwari Lal, says that the Shivling which is in the temple had appeared from the ground on its own. Marble Murtis of Maa Parvati, Shri Ganesh and Nandi Maharaj are also installed around the Shivling.

As per villagers, around four o’clock in the morning on 19 April, when Mohanlal, a villager, reached the temple to worship, he saw that murtis of Maa Parvati and Shri Ganesh were broken. There was a brick nearby which seemingly had been used to break the murtis.

He was stunned to see the murtis broken, and gave this information to the villagers. On hearing about the destruction of temple murtis, the people of the village gathered at the spot. The villagers have resentment due to the breaking of murtis and some were blaming the people of a particular community for doing the heinous deed.

Aligarh temple desecration
Dainik Jagran report on temple desecration in Aligarh, UP

Police reached the spot

On receiving information about the matter, the Circle Officer Pankaj Shrivastav along with Inspector Arvind Kumar reached the spot and calmed the people down. SP (dehat) Sankalp Sharma also reached the spot with the Field Unit . The Field Unit collected fingerprints from broken murtis and gathered other evidence. The Dog Squad also tried to reach the accused but could not succeed. There has been tension in the village since the incident.

New murtis installed in the presence of the police

CO Pankaj Shrivastav said that in this case a report against unknown persons on behalf of village head Rajpal Singh has been registered. The incident is being investigated, strict action will be taken against the accused. In the presence of the police, both the new murtis brought from Agra by the village head have been reinstalled. Police force has been deployed in the village.

Bajrang Dal workers arrive

As soon as the news of vandalization of the murtis broke, the local activists of the Bajrang Dal namely, Awadhesh Pathak, Mr.Raku Sharma, Shashank Sharma, Sudhir Chaudhary, Bunty etc. also reached the spot. They demanded strict action against the accused from the police. On the other hand, BJP’s Kailasharan Gaud, Prabhat Chaudhary, Anil Bansal etc. have also demanded action against the perpetrators from the police.

Not the first instance of Murti vandalization

In the village, there is almost equal population of both Hindu and Muslim communities. On July 13, 2014, the murti of Maiya of the Pathwari temple was also vandalized. A new murti was later re-installed. 

“The murti has been broken by the mischievous elements. Report has been filed. Action will be taken against investigators.” – Sankalp Sharma, SP dehat

Similar desecration in village Lodha

On 18 April, when Lodha resident Anuj Kumar went to pray at the Lehra temple in the village as part of his daily routine, he found the murtis in the temple to be broken. As there was a marriage going on nearby, he kept quiet. The next day, when villagers learnt about the desecration, there was tremendous anger. Police reached and arranged for immersion of the broken murtis, and SO Lodha has promised Prana pratistha (rite of consecrating a murti in a temple) of new murtis soon. Villagers have lodged a complaint against anti-social elements from the village.

Recent cases of temple desceration

It may seem, prima facie, an act of miscreants limited to a particular region, or even a particular village, but as we delve further into the depth of the matter, we find not one or two but more and more instances like this.

Some of these recent incidents of temple desecration and destruction are mentioned below-

Attempt to desecrate a temple murti by Islamists in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

4 Muslim men were arrested for trying to desecrate a temple murti at Kuniyamuthur near Coimbatore. The 4 accused who were arrested and later convicted were identified as Ibrahim (33), Muhammad Nishar (27), Abu Qadir (33) and Muhammad Rafiq (31). The police also got hold of the iron rod which was used by the Islamists in their effort to desecrate the murti.

A Hindu Temple was vandalized and desecrated by vandals in Manipur

A Hindu Temple was vandalized and desecrated by vandals in Lairouching village of Senapati, Manipur. There are 41.39 % Hindus and 41.29 % Christians in Manipur but in Senapati, where the incident took place, the Hindu population is a mere 9.15 % while the Christian population is 89.08 %.

Two Shiv Temples Desecrated in Jammu Within 3 Days

In June 2016, in two separate instances, two Shiv temples in Jammu city were vandalized, desecrated and devotees were abused and attacked. Yasir Alfaz of Shiva village in Doda district, entered Aap Shambu temple in Roop Nagar area and ransacked the temple – he kicked the Shivling, broke the protective glass in front of murtis, damaged the trishul & other items and misbehaved with devotees, including women performing aarti.  Just two days after the desecration of Aap Shambhu temple, a Shiv temple in Nanak Nagar area was desecrated in a virtual repeat of the earlier incident.

Muslim Youth Desecrate Hindu Murtis in Srirangapatna, Karnataka

Three Muslim youth were found desecrating murtis of Hindu deities in Srirangapatna town, causing tension and resulting in Mysuru-Bengaluru highway being blocked by protesting Hindus.

According to sources, Hindu Jagaran Vedike (HJV) activists caught the trio allegedly desecrating Hindu deities murtis on the north side of Srirangapatna fort. The youths were handed over to police. Subsequently, HJV activists called for a bandh in Srirangapatna.

Incidents of Murti destruction not limited to Bharat alone

Desecration of Hindu murtis is occuring on a regular basis across Bharat and other countries with Hindu populations, by fundamentalist adherents of Abrahamic faiths (Islam and Christianity).

Below is a partial listing of few such cases form the past –

Oct 2016: Maa Durga Murti Desecrated in Howrah West Bengal, Urinated Upon

May 2016: Christian employee of Hindustan Photo Films damages 8 Hindu temple deities in Udhagamandalam (Ooty), Tamil Nadu

May 2016: Durga Murtis Vandalised in Chandpur, Bangladesh

June, 2016: Intruders broke into the Muthumariamman temple in Seberang Perai, Malaysia and smashed several deities. The attack came a month after a similar incident in Ipoh, which saw a medical student, Fathi Munzir, smashing several statues at the Sree Muneeswaran Amman Temple in Ipoh

Feb, 2016: Panic Grips Pakistani Hindus After Karachi Temple Desecration By Armed Muslims

Oct, 2015: Durga murtis desecrated in Hooghly district, West Bengal.

Mar, 2014: Vandals target Thar temple, desecrate murti (Pakistan)

Aug, 2014: A Shiva murti at the Vishwa Bhavan Hindu Mandir in Georgia state, USA was desecrated with black paint.

Sept, 2014: 11 Hindu murtis desecrated in Kishoreganj, Bangladesh

Mar, 2012: Several temples were attacked in an area north of the capital, Suva, in Christian-majority Fiji, with murtis of Hindu gods damaged.

Jan, 2010: Shivalingam desecrated in Bagalkot, Karnataka

May, 2008: Hindu murtis desecrated by Muslim extremists in Trinidad and Tobago

Reason for the repeated murti vandalization incidents

We can clearly see that murti vandalism is not restricted to some state or to some part of Bharat;  it is a global phenomenon, which sadly occurs quite regularly even in secular, Hindu-majority Bharat. It is driven by the same poison that drove Mahmud of Ghazni to repeatedly defile the Somnath temple, and which drove “St” Francis Xavier to exult in joy when he saw Hindu idols being destroyed.  This epidemic is spreading at an alarming rate all over the country, from Jammu and Kashmir in the north to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in the south to Manipur in the east.

However, one thing appears to be common in all these places and that is the rising  population of the people believing in Abrahamic faiths (particularly Islam & Christianity). So is there something in the scriptures which is driving extremist adherents of these faith?

Quran preaches the following-

[31:13] Recall that Luqmaan said to his son, as he enlightened him, “O my son, do not set up any idols beside GOD; idolatry is a gross injustice.”

[4:48] GOD does not forgive idolatry, but He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who sets up idols beside GOD, has forged a horrendous offense.

Quran [39:65] It has been revealed to you, and to those before you that if you ever commit idol worship, all your works will be nullified, and you will be with the losers.

The Bible has similar verses –

Deuteronomy 4:25-26

 “When you become the father of children and children’s children and have remained long in the land, and act corruptly, and make an idol in the form of anything, and do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD your God so as to provoke Him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed.

Exodus 34:17

“You shall make for yourself no molten gods”

Conclusion

All Abrahamic faiths prohibit idolatory (worship of idols). Islamic & Christian doctrine in particular, being aggressively proselytizing religions, represents idolators as devil worshipers who are bound for hell fire. This is a central tenet of these faiths, on which all their sects & mainstream religious clergy agree. Thus, adherents of Islam and Christianity hold iconoclasm (destruction of idols) as a ‘good deed’, wherein they are ‘rescuing’ people from darkness and sin. Sadly, this bigotry has never been challenged in the public discourse of Bharat – and unless such bigotry is abolished, all talk of secularism and religious tolerance is just so much hot air.

Inspite of all this, the Bharatiya media (especially the ‘secular’ English language media) seems to have an unwritten code to under-report temple desecration and atrocities on Hindus within and outside Bharat, expounded precisely in this article on Indiafacts.

One cannot help but contrast this with how news of alleged attacks on Christian institutions are hysterically reported in the same mainstream print and TV media, and conclusions like ‘Christian’s under attack’ are reached on prime time debates with half a dozen panelists, even before the police has a chance to investigate. In most of the cases, it is found later that the so-called organized attacks were random incidents of burglary, drunken behaviour, electrical short circuiting etc.

It might be politically incorrect, but the evidence at hand clearly suggests that when Hindus are in majority, the ambience is relatively peaceful and different communities co-exist amicably. On the contrary, when the population of people believing in Abrahamic faiths starts rising, instances of religious vandalization become frequent. This in itself speaks volumes about who is ‘tolerant’ and who is ‘intolerant’.


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