First published at hindupost.in
In an unfortunate development, a BJP minister and some administrative officers brought some Muslim children and adults inside the ancient Sidhpeeth Prachand Chandi Devi And Mahadev Mandir (temple) premises located in rural area of Dasna, Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. As per rules set by the Mahant (chief priest), Yati Narsimhanand Saraswati ji, entry of Muslims is not allowed in the temple premises since long.
Yati Maa Chetnanand Saraswati ji, who has got deeksha from Narsimhanand ji and is next in line, spoke to Hindu Post. She is also an advocate and is known as Chetna Sharma in the advocate circle of Uttar Pradesh. When asked about any particular reason why Muslims are debarred from entry in the temple premises, she said –
“There are many famous temples / peethas where non -Hindus are debarred from entry. Sometimes they give special permits for non -Hindus to enter. That is primarily for security reasons and to protect the sanctity of the sacred space. Please note that the immediate rural area (dehat) where this large premises is located, has 85% Muslim population. We had to make this rule because various incidents were happening here. The Hindu women coming to this temple were eve-teased, there were thefts and finally we decided we needed better control. Hence, it became important to make this rule for long -term peace and preserving the sanctity of this place. Also, most of the previous Mahants used to get beaten up and were made to vacate the premises. Once my guru Narsimhanand ji got a threat call from Saudi Arabia, the caller claimed to be calling from there. We have been surviving against odds and a lot of Hindu villagers have given their money to restore this ancient place. Hindus anyway do not initiate mass conversions hence there is really no need to allow non-Hindus in the sacred premises. Special individual cases can always be taken care of and permitted on individual requests.“
The mahant, Yati Narsimhanand Saraswati has expressed shock over the fact that the program was suddenly conducted on 28th June, when both he and Chetna ji were not in the premises, without prior information. We asked Chetna ji on what really happened, she said –
“The beautification of temple pond was being done by government administration which ended few days back. Not only this pond, all ponds of western UP are being beautified under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan which includes various tie-ups. The temple is not under government control. We were informed that the beautified pond will be inaugurated on 2nd July, rest of the details were awaited. Suddenly, on 28th June, administration and political leaders started pouring in the premises. I have been keeping unwell and hence I was on bed rest that day. Narsimhanand ji was in Jood Mandir in Sahranpur for doing Ram Katha. Only the caretaker, Anil Yadav ji was available on the premises. Rest all are sewaks who live there.
There is a board placed at the entry gate since many years, which debars Muslims from entering the sacred premises. Firstly, Anil Yadav ji was asked to remove that board. When he refused, he was asked to cover it. This also he refused. Anyway, as Anil ji was figuring out what was happening, Muslim children were brought into the premises. They were made to hold the boards like ‘ped lagao’ (plant trees), ‘jal hi jeevan hai’ (water is life) etc. Then some Muslim adults were also brought in. BJP minister General VK Singh was invited and he inaugurated the beautified pond and a board has also been placated mentioning the date of inauguration. General VK Singh is MP from Ghaziabad only, and his family used to visit the premises before and during the elections. It is not possible that he didn’t know this rule. What is shocking is, they hurriedly did the function in our absence, broke the rule and did not even inform Yati Narsimhanand Saraswati ji. There are so many social events that keep happening in western UP, secular program could have been conducted anywhere else too, what was the compulsion to bring Muslims inside this ancient temple premises?”
However, on being questioned by a few people on twitter, General VK Singh tweeted that no Muslim entered the ‘temple’ and the rule was not broken. Yati Narsimhanand ji reacted to General VK Singh’s tweet on his Facebook page saying that the pond is an important part of temple premises :
The below is the board that has been installed informing the public about the inauguration function :
Hindi news media covered the event and reported the same, most news clips mention clearly that the pond area is a part of temple premises :
The beautified pond and the area around :
Here is the board at the entry gate which debars Muslims from entering the premises, since it is a Muslim majority area :
In fact, a green belt was also built around the temple in February 2017 under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, after which the below board was installed which explains the religious importance and ancientness of this pond and temple, it is believed that the pond water cures skin diseases :
It seems that the temple and the pond are deeply revered by local Hindus, and local media has also written about this Chandi Devi and Mahadev Mandir. It is claimed that this peeth / place exists from the Mahabharata time and the Shivalinga was placed there by seer Parashurama himself. The idol of Devi is also extremely old and it is said that during the medieval era, this idol was put in the pond by the then mahants, to save it from destruction by invaders. It was found later and placed again after due Prana Pratishtha inside the temple. It is claimed that the marks on the Shivalinga depict that the invaders tried to break it but did not succeed. During Navratri’s Ashtami and Dashami, about 2 lakh devotees throng the temple. Here are some pictures of this temple, Yajna done for Devi and Shivalinga :
The pond and surrounding area does look beautified and money has indeed been spent on it by administration, but it does seem that because of felt secular compulsions, the administration flouted more than a decade old rule of the temple premises and brought in Muslims, hurting the sentiments of people who run the temple premises and have protected it.