After the lawmaker’s visit, some people visited the temple, sprinkled Gangajal, recited the Hanuman Chalisa, and shouted slogans against Khatoon
Members of Hindu outfits and local civic officials sprinkled Gangajal (water from the Ganga) on a temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Siddharthnagar district on Monday in an effort to “purify” it, a day after a Muslim lawmaker visited the shrine, police said.
Samajwadi Party (SP) legislator from Domariaganj, Saiyada Khatoon, said she was invited by the administration of the Samya Mata temple in Balwa village of Siddharthnagar district to attend an event on Sunday.
But after the Ram Katha event, the chairman of the local panchayat and members of some other Hindu organisations visited the temple on Monday, sprinkled Gangajal, recited the Hanuman Chalisa, and shouted slogans against Khatoon, police said.
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“Samya Mata Mandir is a centre of faith for devotees. People throng the temple with dedication that was disrespected by the local MLA. She is non-vegetarian and her visit affected the sanctity of the place,” said Dharmaraj Verma, chairman, Barhni Chafa nagar panchayat.
He was accompanied by members of different Hindu Organisations, including Santosh Paswan, Mithlesh Pandey, Vijai Madhesia and Promod Gautam. The chairman, Dharamaraj Verma, said that he sprinkled Gangajal on the temple to “purify” it.
Taking note of the matter, Domariaganj circle officer Sujit Kumar Rai said a police team was patrolling the area to avert the possibility of any confrontation and added that they have not received any complaint in connection with the incident yet.
“We will take appropriate action if a complaint is filed in this regard,” he added.
Rai also informed that local villagers had constituted an organising committee for the Ram Katha, headed by Shrikant Shukla, secretary of organising committee and Pujari Prasad, head priest of the temple, and had invited the SP leader.
“We are inquiring into the incident and keeping a close eye on the development,” said superintendent of police, Siddharthnagar, Abhishek Kumar Agarwal.
Khatoon said some elements were misleading a group of people.
“I respect all religions. Moreover, I am a public representative. Be it a temple or a mosque, I will surely go there if I am invited,” she said.
Renovation of various temples was funded by her MLA local area development fund, she added.
This isn’t the first time that such an incident has happened at a temple in Uttar Pradesh. In 2018, a temple in Hamirpur district was purified with Gangajal after a Dalit woman lawmaker, from the Bharatiya Janata Party, entered the temple.
A controversy also broke out in neighbouring Bihar last year after a Muslim minister entered the Vishnupad temple along with chief minister Nitish Kumar, prompting the temple staff to “purify” the premises.
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