Reports

Ghaziabad Incident: An act of Dominance or Vigilance?

The Dasna Devi Mandir of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh has become a bone of contention after a 14 year old Muslim boy named Asif was purportedly thrashed by a 24 year old temple caretaker called Shringi Nandan Yadav for entering the temple premises. The video recording of this incident created a storm over social media and within no time a case was registered against Yadav (prime accused) and Shivanand Saraswati (the one who recorded the incident) by the Ghaziabad police and both were arrested.

By taking Suo Moto cognizance, the Police have registered an FIR against the accused under Indian Penal Code sections 323, 504, 352, 505 and also under provisions of the IT Act.

In the recording, Yadav can be seen asking for the boy’s name and reason to enter the Temple; to which he replies that he entered to quench his thirst and after this Yadav smacks the boy with punches and kicks. Based upon this evidence, the mainstream media concluded that the Temple caretakers thrashed the boy just for drinking water inside the Temple.

However, the locals and Temple authorities say that the story isn’t this simple; there is long history of instances behind this reaction by the temple caretakers.

Being a sacrosanct place for the Hindus, thousands of Devi devotees visit this place every year and there have been numerous incidents of eve teasing, robbery and blasphemy by Muslims youths. They become more often on events like Navratri. The Mahant (head priest) Yati Narsinhanand Saraswati reported to the media that the temple had been robbed for 4 times in his tenure and there had been multiple attempts to either kill the temple priests or to drive them away. Some female devotees have been molested as well. To abstain from such things many devotees preferred daylight visit rather than evening programs. Fed up with this, a board was put up on the entrance of the temple saying, ‘This is sacred place for the Hindus and the entry of Muslims is prohibited’.

After investigation we found records of similar incidents in the district,

  1. On 24th Feb 2017 there had been a robbery in this temple where in the thief escaped with crown of the deity and cash from the donation box. This incident took place after Shivratri. The temple added that such goons recce the premises during daytime and after getting familiar with details they carry out robbery at nights.
  2. Yati Narsimhanand Saraswati pointed out an instance when local MLA Aslam Chaudhary’s son molested a female devotee in the temple and was thus thrashed.

As per reports, The situation there is such distressing that Mohammad Shoeb, this MLA’s own nephew had once thrash talked and beaten up a women on toll both when she asked for toll pay and even gave her death threat.

  1. The Temple said that if you complain against such instances or speak against them. The majority (Muslims) of that area come out in support of the accused which results in communal clashes. They don’t act based upon right and wrong but they always stand by the person of their community, no matter how guilty he is.

Also, In 2017, 65 years old Shinghasan Yadav was allegedly killed in Gaziabad District by 4 Muslim youths after he rebuked them for using foul language to address women.

  1. The Temple also claims that Yati Narsinhanand Saraswati had received several death threats and there had been many attempts for his murder. The goons send young children in Hindu attires buy applying Tilak (vermillion) or wearing Kalawa (sacred Hindu Thread) in the temple during day time for reconnaissance purposes.

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He says that whenever they made attempts to open these cases, some powerful people in the system didn’t let that happen. Thus now they act extremely vigilant against these people.

Coming back to the current case; the boy claimed that he went inside the temple to drink water. But when we went through the detailed location of that particular area, we observed that there were about 3 to 4 sources of drinking water around the temple premises.

One just aside outer wall of the temple, second is a hand pump which is just few meters across the road he was going through, third is the public water facility by the Panchayat Bhawan aside temple complex and also there are few taps just inside the temple entrance. So to a rational mind, it doesn’t seem justifying that the thirsty boy still went 400 to 500 meters inside the temple to drink water. Even the distance of his locality is just around 300 meters more added to this.

Moreover Asif claims that he went to the temple alone and was beaten up by the caretakers when he was returning. However Shringi Yadav who has been granted bail now, portrays a completely different picture.

In an interview with Sudarshan TV, he dismisses these claims of drinking water by saying that he saw Asif urinating in the water around Shivling. He argues that if the boy had to drink water he would have gone to the side where taps are present, not to the place where worship is done. He also added that there was one more boy with him who was behaving in vulgar manner by unzipping his pants in front of few female devotees who were present in the temple compound then. Alongside, He described incidents where such young kids have indulged in idol vandalism in the temple.

Now the whole incident has become a political football again, different parties and media outlets are trying to paint it with their own biased colors. But at Goa Chronicle, we are trying our best to bring to you complete report based upon true instances.

Rutuja Patole

Intern, Goa Chronicle
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