An 800 year old temple was vandalized in Uttarakhand yesterday. Located in the small town of Dwarahat in Almora district, the Mrityunjay temple was constructed by the Katyuri dynasty of Uttarakhand in 11th century. It has been under the care of Archaeological Survey of India since decades, although the locals also worship there everyday. Dwarahat has many ancient temples and Mrityunjay temple is one of the most revered of these.
On Wednesday when people went to offer the puja in the Bhairav temple situated in the Mrityunjay temple complex, the Shivalinga had been sawed off and stolen.
The theft had happened in broad daylight, even while the officials of ASI were present in the premises. According to reports, CCTV footage has shown a person with a bag running from the temple. The police have said that prima facie, more than 2 persons are likely to be involved in the vandalism.
The temple had once been attacked and desecrated by the Afghan Rohillas in 18th century, but the Afghans were quickly expelled by Kumaon army. since then, the temple had seen continuous worship.
The police has issued a statement and assured that perpetrators would be caught soon. The people of the town are agitated and the police had to meet with local representatives to pacify the people. Many locals are of the opinion that this has been done by people of other religion. However, police has released a statement saying that the real motives of the act are not known.
संदिग्धों की शीघ्र गिरफ्तारी के प्रयास किये जा रहे हैं। कृपया धैर्य बनाएं, पुलिस को सहयोग करें। pic.twitter.com/OcYl94Q6dv
— Almora police uttarakhand (@almorapolice) February 10, 2021
According to the police statement, “the upper part of Shivalinga might have a significant price in international market, considering that this temple is of 11th century.” It has also registered a case under IPC 379 and 427 which is for theft and mischief respectively. It has requested that people refrain from making any statements that may spread religious tensions. The sections in the FIR indicate that police is taking this as a simple theft.
It is curious that police did not invoke section 153A of IPC, which deals with promoting enmity between religions and section 295 of IPC, which deals with the destruction and vadalism of a place of worship. This is also a fit case for invoking IPC 120B for criminal conspiracy. It is incomprehensible why the police did not invoke the provisions of these sections while registering the FIR.
These persons who committed the crime knew that they will hurt religious feelings of Hindus and still went through it. They should not be booked just for theft and mischief. It is expected that police would not only arrest the perpetrators, but also book the criminals under appropriate sections. Hindu religious places are under attack all over Bharat.
Uttarakhand being Devbhumi has also been in the eyes of anti-Hindu forces for quite some time. Only a strong Hindu response will save our temples and our civilization. Temples were once the center of our towns as well as centers of our social life. It is time for Hindus to make temples great again.
Picture : Dainik Jagran
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