The BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation will explore granting "legal status" to a prefabricated Hanuman temple that has come up at Chandni Chowk where a temple was demolished by authorities in January, NDMC Mayor Jai Prakash said Sunday, even as police initiated action in the matter. "I have planned to call a high-level meeting tomorrow with officials to discuss possible ways by which legal status could be given to the structure," he said.
He termed the matter "very sensitive", but said the structure anyway is on the median verge of the road. The Delhi government's Public Works Department (PWD) Saturday lodged a complaint with the police seeking action on setting up of the prefabricated, steel structure on the median verge of Chandni Chowk by unknown people.
While no FIR has been registered so far in the case, a police officer said, "We have received the complaint and necessary legal action has been taken in the matter." He did not specify what "legal action" was taken by the police. The PWD complaint filed at the Kotwali Police Station stated that some unknown people kept the prefabricated structure at the median near Kucha Mahajani in Chandni Chowk on the night of February 18.
"This structure is basically an obstacle in the theme of the (Chandni Chowk beautification) project and placed without permission from project executing authorities. In this regard, it is requested to take necessary action at the earliest so that the project can be completed within timeline," the PWD complaint said. The makeshift structure has come up on the central verge of the main Chandni Chowk road, close to where an old Hanuman temple existed that was demolished in January following a court order, to pave way for the beautification work.
Meanwhile, locals have started visiting the makeshift temple and offering prayer. The Lord Hanuman idol from the old temple has been kept there now, and a priest has also been deputed to officiate the worship. Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said the January demolition of the "ancient" Hanuman Mandir had hurt the sentiments of local residents and traders in the business district.
The sudden reestablishment of the Hanuman Mandir at an undisputed site just few meters away from the original temple site has made people very happy, he said. During the past two days thousands of devotees along with BJP, Aam Aadmi Party and Congress leaders offered prayers here, he said. "People are upset that the PWD has written to the Delhi Police objecting to the Mandir structure. People who saw AAP leaders performing a Havana at the Mandir were angered to see that the Delhi government has complained against the Mandir," Kapoor said.
He has also written to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal protesting against the PWD's complaint and demanded it be withdrawn The new temple site is "undisputed" and the Chief Minister should ask PWD minister Satyendra Jain, who also heads the Religious Committee, to review and approve the new Mandir, making it part of the beautification plan, he said.