‘Land Jihad’ in Maharashtra: Temple land illegally occupied by Muslims

Similar to the evil of love jihad, instances of ‘land jihad’ are also being reported from many parts of the country now; wherein Muslims illegally occupy land pieces or properties owned by people of other communities; mainly the Hindus. Land encroachment by Muslims has become a common problem in states like West Bengal, Assam and Mizoram.

But unlike love jihad cases, instances of land jihad are not highlighted enough or talked much about; they fail to get equal attention from people on social media and otherwise. One such example of a land jihad case not known about is from a village called Ausa in the Latur district of the state of Maharashtra. Here, local Muslims have encroached the land belonging to the 1500 years old Ram Temple situated there.

In order to know more about the wrongdoings going on around the temple, GoaChronicle had a conversation with the caretakers of the temple, Shashikant Ramdasi and Sulbha Ramdasi, their family, the only Hindus living in the village, around the Muslim majority, and looking after their deities and their abode.

Sulbha told us that the encroachment on the temple land had started back in 2017-18 itself and what the Muslim encroachers do is bringing building materials from areas nearby and building home-like structures to stay.

Talking about the encroachment, Shashikant stated that around 40 acres of the land belonged to the Ramdasis who have been the temple caretakers for the last 10 generations; but now, the local Muslims have forcibly made structures on their land to live there. He added how he had sent letters requesting the removal of the illegal structures and the encroachers to the local Tehsildar’s office, the Nagar Parishad, the DSP’s office, the Deputy Collector’s office, and even to Devendra Fadnavis’ office, Uddhav Thackeray’s office and to the PMO.

He was then notified a few days back that his request was transferred from Mumbai to Aurangabad and the due legal procedure had begun. Ramdasi added that the Collector’s office had also sent a notice to the Nagar Parishad asking as to how the land could be illegally occupied by people other than those who owned it.

To know more, GoaChronicle went through all the documents and applications Shashikant told us about. Shockingly, the papers revealed that all the government departments did nothing but forward Ramdasi’s requests from one to the next, without any concrete action taking place.

What was even more startling that even the Nagar Parishad had encroached some portion of the land belonging to the temple and had very conveniently constructed a marriage hall!

While the 1500-year-old temple’s structure needs a revamp, Muslim encroachers continue to build sheds and houses on the temple land and live at ease and on top of that, the Nagar Parishad is one of the encroachers. But nobody is paying heed to the pleas of the Ramdasis as they are simple people with a weak financial background. Anybody who does come forward to assist them has ulterior motives on their mind to make money out of the issue, and the bottom-line is, that nobody seems to be interested in the case as it is concerned with a Hindu temple as it does not go hand-in-hand with the ‘secular’ viewpoint of many.









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