New Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday wrote to Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri regarding the land on which the Sant Ravidas Temple existed at Tughlaqabad in South Delhi, and requested the Centre to denotify the land, and divert it for the purpose of building the temple.
The Chief Minister wrote,’The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) demolished the Sant Ravidas Temple in Tughlaqabad Village of Delhi on August 10. This has caused tremendous hurt to the sentiments of crores of people. Sant Ravidas Ji was a revered saint, not just for the Dalit community, but for all communities. His teachings have been empowering and uplifting for generations of people over five centuries.’
Mr Kejriwal stated in his letter that although the temple and all other property had been demolished, it was still possible to restore the temple. ‘I have been given to understand that there is still an opportunity to correct this injustice, and restore the Sant Ravidas Ji temple. The DDA can exercise its discretion to act in accordance with the public sentiment,’ he said.
‘Since the land is under ownership of the DDA, only the Centre can initiate the denotification of the land in question. This is Forest land under ownership and control of the DDA.As the agency that has possession and title over it, it will have to initiate the process. DDA will need to submit a proposal to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change through the Government of NCT of Delhi, for notifying the diversion of the land,’ the CM said.
The Chief Minister assured Mr Puri that his government would actin a time-bound manner on the proposal to denotify the land. ‘I will ensure that State Government will take up the matter immediately and that it is decided in accordance with law in a time bound manner,’ he said.
On the matter of reconstruction of the temple, he wrote, ‘If the Government makes the land available to the society that was running the temple, with your support and blessings, the Delhi government will be pleased to carry out the reconstruction of the temple.’
In this matter, Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam has already written to the DDA vice-chairman, and in his letter Mr Gautam had stated that is for the DDA to initiate the proposal for denotification of the land on which the Sant Ravidas Temple existed. Mr Gautam informed that following his letter, he also had a telephonic conversation with DDA vice-chairman, but so far he has not received any response to his letter.