Shahjahanpur: Hindu organisations and local residents in Tilhar area of Shahjahanpur district staged a protest against the shifting of a Hanuman temple which is located at a place from where the under-construction Delhi–Lucknow National Highway is passing.
Tilhar police station in-charge Virendra Singh said preventive action has been taken against 32 people, including temple priests and villagers.
A large number of police personnel were deployed around the temple, he said.
The administration is shifting the temple 80 metres away from the current spot and the work for it started from September 17, after which members of Hindu organisations started protesting against it, he said.
According to protesters, the temple at Kachiyani Kheda in the Tilhar area is in existence for around a century.
Due to the expansion of the road, it has now come right in the middle of it. About two years ago, an effort was made to shift it but a crane brought for the purpose got damaged, after which people’s faith in the temple increased.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Rajesh Awasthi on Thursday accused the administration of working in an arbitrary manner and warned of agitation if the shifting work continued. Awasthi said a mosque in the town hall of the city was built on the land of Hindus and demanded that first it be removed, only then the temple located in Tilhar should be shifted.
Tilhar SDM Rashi Krishna said the Hanuman temple is being shifted after completing all legal formalities. “We are transferring the temple with full respect,” he said.
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The SDM said the work is being carried out by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the administration is extending full cooperation to them.
In the midst of this protest on Tuesday, former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand reached the temple premises and performed an “aarti”.
A purported audio of the district magistrate threatening a temple priest had also surfaced on social media. PTI