One dargah in Vadodara and the city is in flames. And the secular media has little to say about Hindu reasonableness and Muslim irrationality.
The roads of the historic temple city Madurai, praised in ancient Tamil literature, have got back their original glory with civic officials pulling down more than 800 encroachments including 250 roadside temples, some of them century old.
The demolition of roadside temples was accomplished following a High Court order on February 3 last, to take effective steps to remove all encroachments on public roads.
Civic officials not only razed down temples but even roadside offices of political parties, one or two churches and a dargah.
The police had a tough time in removing the devotees who had squatted inside the temple and refused to move when the bulldozers and procline machines roared to the site.
The officials had to convince the people about the need to execute the High Court order. ?We are demolishing all the places of worship, all the houses, flag posts, etc and we don'tdiscriminate,? the officials said.
Officials also deputed a special team of intelligence to carry out liaison work negotiating with unauthorised occupants and persuade them to vacate the building.
In the case of the temples, the idols and other articles were removed in advance by the persons concerned. While the ground work of police officials helped avert clashes in many places, in some they had to use force to remove the devotees as the talks failed.
Temples in many places had been constructed with the hidden agenda which varied. There were temples which fetched more than Rs two lakh a year to the trustees who celebrated annual festivals.
There were also temples in the bustling market area which helped the traders extend their sun shade on both sides of the temples. In some places people had extended their houses till the periphery of the temple.
Chockalingam, a senior politician said people understand now that public places should not be occupied. The broad roadsides would reduce the problem of parking on roadsides.
Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy said the government had definitely earned the wrath of the people, who were stranded on streets, after providing them legitimacy to live in.
K V R Subramanian, an auditor, suggested legal action be taken against corporation officials who had permitted the roadsides to be encroached.
Many people at the demolition site were sad that the places of worship had been pulled down. Those who had built a roof over their head and run small business and tea shops to eke out their living are now in the street.
All the same, they ask how did the Corporation give them power and water connection and allowed unauthorised roadside temples to come up in the first place? Some temples had been attached to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment trust, and Corporation had been condemned for removing those temples, and now a legal battle is in the offing between the Corporation and the HR and CE Department.
Corporation officials, who had been aggressive in the initial stage of the ?operation eviction?, have slowed down now after another High Court bench took a slightly different view on March 22 and said the court had not given any blanket powers to the Corporation to remove the encroachments with utter disregard to law. Justice D Murugesan told the officials to follow procedures before demolishing.