Delhi: Protests Erupt Outside Temple In Mandawali During Encroachment Drive, Locals Detained

Locals in the area opposed to the idea of removal of illegal construction, as they said that the temple has been present for years, and no one has complained of any problem.

Protests at Delhi's Mandawali

Protests erupted in Delhi against a drive to remove a grill, which was part of the temple, during an encroachment drive carried out by Public Works Department (PWD), police said. Delhi police detained several locals after a scuffle broke out.

The massive protest also led to traffic congestion in the area which was later brought under control, they said. Authorities clarified that the drive was "only to remove the railings and clear the pavement".

"PWD's anti-encroachment drive was scheduled today. They (PWD) asked for our assistance to remove the grill of a temple which was obstructing the footpath. We provided them assistance and the grill has been removed peacefully," says Amrutha Guguloth, DCP East Delhi.

Police said the locals who had gathered near the temple premises have now stopped the protest but are still at the spot standing on one side of the road. They chanted slogans and also participated in prayers at the temple after the encroachment drive was completed, police said.

Delhi police were present in large numbers as locals raised slogans against the demolition.

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi said that the order to destroy the temple was given by the L-G. "The order to destroy the temple was given by the L-G. Manish Sisodia, when he was the (Delhi) home minister, had raised objections against it, but the L-G overruled his suggestion," she said.

Delhi LG has also said that files to demolish temples would be sent directly to him, and not the elected government, the minister said.

She also said the AAP was opposed to the encroachment drives and that party workers have been at the spot in Mandawali since Wednesday evening.

Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdev said that two party workers sustained injuries in the scuffle. "Not only BJP workers were opposing (to the removal of portion of temple), but they also got injured, including two BJP councillors. This action exposes (Delhi CM) Arvind Kejriwal's anti-Hindu face," he said.

(This is a developing story. More details are awaited.)

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