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BJP-Shiv Sena Activists Clash In Mumbai Over Alleged Ayodhya Ram Temple Construction Scam

An Offence Registered Against Activists Including Former Mumbai Mayors

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
I am a mumbai based journalist having worked with many daily newspapers.

INDIA. Mumbai: The activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).and Shiv Sena, were detained after a scuffle broke out between them in front of Shiv Sena Bhavan, the Shiv Sena headquarter at Dadar in Central Mumbai on Wednesday.

The BJP workers had organized a “Phatkar Morcha” against Shiv Sena for its “offensive” remarks in its party mouthpiece “Saamana” about the alleged Ayodhya Ram Temple construction scam. BJYM workers were staging a protest outside Sena Bhavan. However, matters escalated and a scuffle broke out between the workers of both parties. BJYM workers alleged that the Shiv Sena workers who were already present at the spot assaulted them. Akshta Tendulkar, President, BJP Women’s Mahim unit alleged that she was attacked by Shiv Sena activists when she was returning to her vehicle after the protest. 

Alleged land scam

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In an editorial in “Saamana”, on June 15, 2021 the Shiv Sena repeated the charge by Aam Aaadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh and former Minister in Samajwadi Party Government in Uttar Pradesh Pawan Pandey, that that the land acquisition deal for the proposed Ram Temple at Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram in Uttar Pradesh, was fishy. They accused Shriram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust General Secretary Champat Rai of buying a piece of land worth Rs 2 crore at an inflated price of Rs 18.5 crore for the Ram temple premises with help from Trust’s member Anil Mishra. Soon, the Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi- Vadra also said that the misuse of donations by devotees is a sin and an insult to their faith.

The “Saamna” stated that the 12080 square meters of land for the proposed Ram Temple at Ayodhya, was allegedly purchased by the Shriram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust for Rs 18.50 crore, although it was worth Rs 2 crore. The land belonging to Harish Pathak and Kusum Pathak was sold by them to Sultan Ansari and Ravi Mohan Tiwari for Rs two crore on March 18, 2021. Within minutes Ansari and Tiwari sold it to the trust for Rs 18.5 crore.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi participating in the groundbreaking ceremony of the proposed Ram Temple in Ayodhya, last year. (file pic).
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“The groundbreaking ceremony was performed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 5, 2020. After that the temple volunteers collected donations worth thousands of rupees, across the country. Even the Shiv Sena donated Rs one crore to the trust. The matter is sensitive and as such an inquiry should be conducted to unearth the facts. Those who are at the forefront of temple construction should maintain the sanctity of Lord Ram. It is high time that Modi and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat intervened in the matter, the editorial stated.

However apparently these terse remarks enraged the BJP workers who staged a protest in front of the Shiv Sena Bhavan. Soon after the scuffle, BJP leaders Ashish Shelar, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, and Pravin Darekar reached the Mahim police station and demanded action against Shiv Sena activists.

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Speaking to electronic media Shelar, an MLA and former Maharashtra minister warned of strong retaliation in the future. “I warn Shiv Sena workers of retaliation if they again attacked our workers,” he said, alleging that Sena workers also attacked a woman supporter of the BJP in the presence of police. “The Sena was once proud of the demolition of the Babri mosque, but now for political reasons, it is defaming Lord Ram. Sonia or Vadra (Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra) have now become the Sena’s deities,” he said, in a swipe at the Sena’s alliance with the Congress in Maharashtra.

BJP MLA Rahul Narvekar told the “Transcontinental Times” that the FIR was registered late in the evening at their insistence although he had no details about the FIR. But the offense is non-bailable. The Shiv Sena activists including former Mayor Shraddha Jadhav and Milind Vaidya, Rakesh Deshmukh, Sandip Deolekar, Chandu Jagade, and Raju Patankar are stated to have been named in the FIR.

However, Shiv Sena MLA Sadanand Sarvankar told the “Transcontinental Times” that “We were first told that BJP workers were coming to protest, later we learned that they are coming to vandalize the Shiv Sena Bhavan. So we stopped them before they could reach near it. They gave the names of many Shiv Sena activists to the police who were not even present at the venue”. While there was tight police arrangement outside the Bhavan, the chaos caused a massive roadblock and violation of COVID-19 prevention norms. 

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