An incident of temple vandalism and desecration has been reported from Banaso temple in Mahamaya complex of Vishnugarh block, in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. The temple murti was also destroyed, and the area is tense with protesters demanding immediate arrest of the accused 5 Muslim youth.
The agitated crowd even clashed with the police resulting in one policeman’s foot getting injured. The crowd resorted to sloganeering and arson, demanding the arrest of culprits. Police claims to have arrested one culprit while remaining 4 are still absconding. Large numbers of police have camped on the spot, led by DSP Shahdev Sau.
People recoursed to continuous sloganeering against the police administration alleging them to be soft on the culprits and being hesitant to take swift decision. Fearing the situation getting out of hand, police forces resorted to use of tear gas and requested for additional backup forces from the district police headquarters.
Deputy Commissioner and SP Hazaribagh were both in a meeting with the Chief Minister at Ranchi and left for the spot of agitation as soon as they got the news. SP Anup Birthare said that FIR have been registered regarding the incident and assured that stringent action would be taken against the culprits as per the law. In the meantime Sec. 144 has been invoked in the area.
Deputy Commissioner Ravi Shankar Shukla urged people to act with restraint and exercise prudence. Raj Kishore Pandey of Mahamaya Temple authority said that prayers would resume at the temple once the cleansing of the temple premises is done.
– Translation by Sangeet Vijay Sagar
Temple desecration and destruction of murtis, worship of which is termed ‘idolatry’ and forbidden in Abrahamic religions like Islam and Christianity (it is equated with devil worship by fundamentalists of both religions), is a common occurrence in Bharat and neighboring Muslim majority countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan. We have analyzed this phenomenon in detail in an earlier article – ‘Why is frequent murti desecration in Hindu temples ignored?‘
Hazaribagh and Bokaro in Jharkhand have been communally volatile for long. Last year, a Ram Navami procession in Hazaribagh was attacked for playing “hyper-nationalistic” songs while passing through a Muslim area. On Republic Day in 2013, tensions had arisen after an 11-year-old Hindu child was accused of insulting the prophet of Islam. Incidentally, the population of Muslims in Jharkhand (earlier part of Bihar state) has grown from 8.09% in 1951 to 14.53% in 2011.
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