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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Lesson on Secularism by Bombay High Court – It’s Okay to have a Kabrastan Near Ancient Shiva Temple

Ambernath residents were opposing Maharashtra government’s proposal for a Muslim Burial ground (Kabrastan) in the vicinity of an 11th century Shiva Temple. However, as per the usual practice in Bharat, they were taught a lesson on secularism by the Bombay High Court citing the Constitutional values of Bharat.

As reported in The Times of India, the petitioners had raised the doubt of communal tension if the court did not stop the state government’s order to reserve a plot for Kabrastan, in Kailash Colony, located between Ambernatha and Ulhasnagar. The court simply shed off the argument that its duty is to check the merits of the case and legality and validity of decision. If any communal tension is created then it is the duty of the government to ensure such situation doesn’t arises. Court also cited that petitioners have to respect the ideals of the ‘Secular’ Constitution of Bharat as required by Article 51-A(a).

The said plot is located at a mere distance of 200m from the ancient 11th century Shiva Temple and a Ganpati Visarjan Ghat. The temple is said to be one of the oldest Shiva temples in coastal Maharashtra as per the ASI. The said temple has been built in 1060 AD on the banks of Waldhuni river, by King Chittaraja of the Silhara dynasty that ruled over Konkan.

On the other hand, the Muslims in the area have demanded for a burial ground as they had to take the deceased to a kabrastan over 5 km away. High Court, without giving much respect to the sentiments of the Hindus, simply said “It is not the case (of the petitioners) that devotees visiting the temple or the ghat are required to approach them through the plot reserved for the burial ground.” Calling it as a step for regional town planning, High Court reaffirmed the plan developed by the authorities.

HinduPost has connected with the locals in that area. They told that plot was allotted by forcibly evicting 7 or 8 Hindu families staying on it by calling them illegal occupants as the land is owned by corporation – but most of Ulhasnagar comes under that category due to the peculiar dynamics. So does that mean that corporation can evict almost all Hindus from the area and they cant do a thing about it? Thereafter an adjoining plot that housed a Ganapati visarjan pond constructed at a cost of Rs 18 lakh by the municipal corporation was also allotted for the burial ground.

They also told that earlier BJP MLA and the current NCP MLA, both are supporting this plot allotted to Muslims and overriding objections by local Hindus.

Now coming to the other important aspects that the court might have ignored. As per the locals, lakhs of women and children throng to the temple annually. Moreover, that entire area is prone to flood during monsoon and a burial ground is against environmental rules and regulations.

Infact, in a landmark order, the Supreme Court has directed the Maharashtra government to pay Rs 100 crore for tackling the pollution of Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers in Thane district. As reported in India Today, the amount was to be disbursed for the protection and restoration. The court has also ordered an immediate shutdown of all illegal industries operating in the region and stop water and power supply to jeans-washing units in Ulhasnagar.

Now allowing burial of dead bodies in such proximity of an ecologically sensitive area will pollute the said river and add to the woes related to environment issues.

Seems like once again, courts and administration have proved that practice of secularism is just applicable on the Hindus in Bharat. On this issue, even the elite environment activists will keep mum. Other ‘minorities’ can enjoy all benefits and freely follow their religion. Still majority Hindus will be called intolerant for legally fighting for their cultural rights.

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