Get Ravidas temple land denotified: Delhi Minister to DDA

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, here on Thursday, wrote to the Delhi Development Authority urging an immediate review of the demolition of Saint Ravidas temple and urged the DDA to send a request to the Forest Department for denotifying the land.

Gautam asked DDA Vice-Chairman Tarun Kapoor to send the request to pave the way for the Delhi government to move a proposal to the Centre for approval and allotment of land for construction of Sant Ravidas temple.

Stressing early resolution, he said it would be possible only if the DDA, which owned the land, requested the Forest Department for denotifying it from the forest category.

Gautam said the request should be sent on "top priority" as "each day of delay will aggravate the hurt caused to millions belonging to the marginalised communities for whom the Sant was venerable and they derived their meaning of life from his teachings".

The temple was demolished on August 10 following a Supreme Court order. The court said the Guru Ravidas Jayanti Samaroh Samiti, which took care of the temple, had not vacated the land reserved for forest.

While the Delhi government had declared the land as reserved for forest in 1980, the community argued the temple was 600 year-old.

Gautam said the temple was not built after felling trees as it was centuries old. The temple of the 15th-century mystic got a new building after Independence. It is believed the land was gifted to the sage by Sikandar Lodi. Born in a community of leather-workers, considered untouchable, Ravidas was one of the exponents of the Bhakti movement.

--IANS

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