Protests continued in Punjab by the members of Ravidas community after the Supreme Court ordered demolition of a temple dedicated to Guru Ravidas in Delhi's Tughlakabad.
Punjab bandh or a state-wide shutdown has been called by the community members in several parts of the state that has impacted traffic on Jalandhar-New Delhi highway.
A holiday has been issued for the educational institutions in Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, and Gurdaspur.
Due to the declaration of the bandh, the Punjab School Education Board has postponed the class 10 and 12 supplementary examinations scheduled for Tuesday. The rescheduled dates will be released soon. The board has postponed the class 10 Mathematics examination and class 12 Political Science, Business Studies and Physics examination.
Several trains also got affected by the bandh. Among them were Dadar Express, Pathankot-Delhi Express, Gorakhpur-Jammu Tawi Express, Kaumakhiya Dev-Jammu Tawi Express, Amritsar-bound Katihar Express and UP Nangal Dam--Amritsar Express train among others.
The Chief Minister has appealed to the community to call off their protests saying the government was ready to extend its full support to them to get the matter amicably resolved with the Central Government.
While appealing to PM Modi to step in for the resolution of the sensitive issue, the Amarinder Singh also personally spoke to Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri to seek re-allotment of the same site, which reportedly belongs to the Delhi Development Authority, to enable the community to reconstruct the temple and along with the Sarovar, which has been demolished.
Legends say that Guru Ravidasji visited the sacred place around 1509 during the reign of Sikander Lodhi.
Extending all legal and financial assistance to the community to take the matter forward and rebuild the demolished structures at the same place, the Chief Minister has constituted a five-member committee to meet the religious and political representatives of the community and formulate a comprehensive strategy to resolve the issue with the Centre. The committee consists of Santokh Singh, Charanjit Singh Channi, Raj Kumar Chabbewal, Aruna Chaudhary and Sushil Kumar Rinku.
Underlining the need to uphold the sanctity of the site, which has importance not only for Ravidas community but all Sikhs and Punjabis the world over, the Chief Minister said the demolition of the temple could trigger serious unrest in the community, not just in Punjab but in other places too.
It was essential to resolve the matter urgently, taking all the concerned parties, including the Delhi development Authority, into confidence with respect to the vast pool of legal and other evidence of proof the historic and religious links of the site with Sri Guru Ravidas ji himself, the chief minister said.
Mr Singh said given the gravity and sensitivity of the matter, it was imperative that the central government, led by the prime minister himself, take all possible steps to restore the site to its original structure and layout.
Protest marches were taken out by the community members on Monday that led to shutdown of shops in Nawanshahr town, around 80 km from Chandigarh. Leaders from the Congress, BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal said they would help resolve the issue amicably.
The Delhi Development Authority or DDA in a statement issued yesterday, said the "structure was removed as per the orders of the Supreme Court".
"The standing semi-permanent structure was dismantled peacefully without any resistance or use of force in the presence of Guru Ravi Das Jayanti Samaroh Samiti members," the development authority said in the statement.
The development authority said the top court in a case titled "Guru Ravi Das Jayanti Samaroh Samiti vs Union of India", had on August 9 observed that "serious breach" has been committed by the Guru Ravi Das Jayanti Samaroh Samiti by not vacating the forest area as earlier ordered by the court.
"Therefore, the Honourable Supreme Court ordered that the premises be vacated and the structure be removed by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) with the help of police," it said.
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