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Sea Of Blue In Delhi: Dalit Protestors March Against Demolition Of Sant Ravidas Temple

Dalit groups have demanded that the temple be reconstructed either at the same spot in Tughlaqabad forest area or at an alternative location.

On August 21, thousands of Dalit protestors took to the streets. As per a PTI report, the stretch between Ambedkar Bhawan in Jhandewalan to the Ramlila Maidan in central Delhi turned into a sea of blue as thousands of Dalit men and women from Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and other states marched to protest against the demolition of a Ravidas Temple in the national capital.

Dalit activists under the banner of Ravidas community, Bhim Army, Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch (DSMM), Dalit Sant Samaj and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) were part of the march.

Similar protests were held in Punjab on August 13.

Sant Ravidas Temple demolition
(Photo: Twitter/@AmbedkarCaravan)

On August 10, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had demolished the historic Sant Ravidas Temple in the Tughlaqabad area on the orders of the Supreme Court. The DDA claimed that the temple and its campus were built on illegal land. According to documents submitted before the court, the Ravidas temple complex is spread across 12,350 square yards and has 20 rooms and one hall on its premises.

Various Dalit groups have demanded that the temple be reconstructed either at the same spot in Tughlaqabad forest area or at an alternative location.

Delhi’s Social Justice Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, who was part of the protests, told PTI their fight is against the injustice meted out to the community and not against the Supreme Court order.

“I am here as a representative of the community and not as a Delhi minister or politician. We respect the Supreme Court order, but the government should answer why only temples of the Dalit community and statues of BR Ambedkar are being demolished across the country?” he asked.

Speaking to Newsclick, Dalit activist Sushil Gautam said: “The temple of Sant Ravidas ji must be re-established at the same place because the faith of over 40 crore people is linked to this temple. The BJP has deliberately demolished the symbol of the faith of 40 crore Dalits. The community will never forgive the BJP.”

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