BJP, AAP indulge in blame game over demolition of temple at Delhi's Chandni Chowk

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New Delhi, Jan 4 (PTI) The BJP and the AAP blamed each other on Monday over the demolition of a temple at Delhi's Chandni Chowk, with the saffron party saying its leaders will meet the lieutenant governor soon to demand reconstruction of the structure.

At a press conference, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta blamed the AAP government in the city for the demolition of the Hanuman temple and said a delegation of party leaders will meet the LG and seek his intervention in the matter.

A senior police officer said the MCD carried out the demolition drive on Sunday in accordance with court orders.

'The situation remains peaceful at the site but as a precautionary measure, security personnel have been deployed there to maintain law and order,' he said.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the demolition of the temple.

Senior party leader Durgesh Pathak claimed that the BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) demolished the temple and alleged that the leaders of the saffron party are accusing the AAP now to avoid public anger over such a 'heinous crime'.

'To hide this reality from the people of Delhi, with the help of the city police, the BJP demolished the temple when everybody was asleep.

'Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta and other top leaders of the party are directly responsible for demolishing the ancient Hanuman temple. The AAP demands stringent action against these leaders for committing such a heinous crime,' he said.

Earlier in the day, members of some saffron outfits staged a protest near the site of the demolished structure, where heavy police force was deployed.

'Delhi BJP leaders will soon meet LG Anil Baijal for the reconstruction of the temple at Chandni Chowk and demand his intervention in this matter,' Gupta said.

A delegation of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), led by its working president Alok Kumar, met the LG and demanded reconstruction of the temple.

Kumar later told reporters that the delegation requested the LG for the filing of an application in the high court for the reconstruction of the temple.

Gupta claimed that the Religious Affairs Committee of the Delhi government could have resolved the matter and saved the temple from demolition but it did not do so.

'Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal portrays himself as a Hanuman devotee, but he stepped back when the time came to save the ancient temple at Chandni Chowk,' he said.

When the redevelopment of Chandni Chowk had started, the local RWAs, market and traders' associations had opposed it, but the AAP government did not stop the work, Gupta charged.

He said when the chief minister went to inspect the Chandni Chowk project in July last year, the local BJP councillor, other leaders of the party and social organisations gave him a memorandum, requesting him to accommodate the temple in the redevelopment project.

'Under a conspiracy hatched by the Kejriwal government, the temple was demolished in the name of redevelopment of Chandni Chowk, which has hurt the faith of crores of Hindus,' the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said.

Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said the Religious Affairs Committee of the city government had the right to take a stand in the court.

'The committee could have saved the temple by telling the court that its demolition will hurt religious sentiments and could lead to a law-and-order situation, but it did not do so,' he said.

The VHP and other saffron outfits will stage a protest against the demolition of the temple at Chandni Chowk on Tuesday, a spokesperson of the outfit, Mahendra Rawat, said. PTI VIT AMP UZM RC