The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has vehemently condemned the continuous demolition of religious places in Delhi by the Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. The attack came after today’s case involving the demolition of an ancient Hanuman temple as well as a mazar in Bhajanpura today. Senior AAP leader and MLA Shri Kuldeep Kumar criticised the relentless demolition of religious places in Delhi by the LG in a press conference on Sunday. He highlighted how the Delhi LG has issued orders for the demolition of many ancient temples and religious structures across various locations in Delhi. He said that these actions not only disrespect the faith and beliefs of the people of Delhi but also suggest a deliberate campaign to undermine peace and social harmony in the city. He called attention to the BJP’s hypocrisy, highlighting how they wax eloquent about temples while collaborating with the Delhi LG to demolish these ancient temples and places of worship in Delhi.

AAP MLA Shri Kuldeep Kumar stated, “We have repeatedly brought to the public’s attention the LG’s plans to demolish temples and religious places with historical significance. Today, we address the demolition of a Hanuman Temple and a Mazar in Bhajanpura, which further exemplify LG and BJP’s broader pattern.” He explained that the former Home Minister of Delhi, Shri Manish Sisodia, revealed in a previous press conference in January this year that the LG had granted permission for the demolition of religious places in Delhi.

When the proposal to demolish these places of worship was presented to Shri Manish Sisodia in February 2023 through the ‘Religious Committee,’ he voiced his opposition. He recommended that rather than demolishing the temples, the focus should be on altering the project’s blueprint to accommodate them. However, when this proposal reached the LG, it was rejected, and instead, the demolition of religious sites was ordered. Furthermore, it was stated in the file that this decision falls under the purview of ‘law and order,’ granting the LG complete authority to make such decisions. Additionally, the LG ordered that any files related to temple demolitions should be directly sent to him by the Chief Secretary, bypassing the need for approval from the elected Delhi government.

Following the razing of the ancient Shiv temple Mandawali, Delhi PWD Minister Ms Atishi also wrote a letter to the LG on June 22, 2023, urging him to reconsider his decision to demolish 14 religious sites in Delhi, including 11 temples and 3 shrines. She wrote, “The people’s faith is deeply attached to these religious sites, and we urge the LG to respect their sentiments.”

In reference to the letter penned by PWD Minister Ms Atishi to the Delhi LG, AAP leader Shri Kuldeep Kumar shared, “The letter by Ms Atishi outlines the concerns raised by the former Home Minister of Delhi, Shri Manish Sisodia, who suggested adjusting the alignment and map of projects instead of demolishing temples. Regrettably, the LG rejected this proposal, invoking ‘law and order’ falling under his purview as the justification for his actions. The LG disregarded the sentiments of the people without considering the preservation of these ancient temples. Toying with the religious beliefs of Delhi’s residents is unacceptable.”

Drawing attention to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s track record of their role in the demolition of temples in Delhi, AAP MLA Shri Kuldeep Kumar said, “The Bharatiya Janata Party has consistently shown a callous disregard for the religious beliefs and emotions of the people of Delhi. The recent demolition of the temples in Srinivaspuri and Mandawali exemplified BJP’s plan. The BJP always talks a lot about temples, but when it comes to saving the temples, they work with the Delhi LG to get these ancient Hindu religious structures demolished. The BJP should be ashamed of its actions. Moreover, the Delhi LG, VK Saxena, even now has a list of six additional temples earmarked for demolition soon, claiming that the matter falls outside the jurisdiction of the Delhi government. Today the people of Delhi are seeing the real face of the BJP.”

Directly addressing the Delhi LG, Shri Kuldeep Kumar asked him to desist from further mocking the faith of Delhiites and disrupting peace and harmony in the national capital. He stated, “It is essential that the LG VK Saxena immediately retracts his decision to demolish places of worship in Delhi. Why does the Lieutenant Governor want to disrupt the peace and social harmony in Delhi? Why is the BJP engaged in the demolition of temples and religious places? The people of Delhi have great faith in their Gods, and their beliefs are deeply tied to these temples. We implore you not to play with their religious faith and belief. Do not demolish temples that hold centuries of history and reverence. Former Home Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Shri Manish Sisodia, have already dismissed this proposal. Do not infringe upon the rights of the Delhi government and the sentiments of its people. Take back your decision, LG!”

Two AAP councillors from the Bhajanpura area, Ms. Rekha Rani and Ms. Chhaya Gaur, have also written letters opposing the demolition of temples, further emphasising the community’s concerns. These letters highlight the urgent necessity of preserving the trust and faith of the people and the sanctity of ancient temples, urging the Delhi LG to not undertake their demolition.

AAP MLA Shri Kuldeep Kumar also expressed heartfelt condolences and grief for the death of a laborer due to electrocution in an under-construction building within a hospital complex today. In response to a question from the media, he said, “It is deeply concerning that within the national capital, such tragic incidents continue to occur without any tangible action being taken against the wrongdoings and safety violations by negligent officials. The responsibility of services lies in the hands of the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi, who has thus far failed to address these pressing issues. Two days ago, tragedy struck in Harsh Nagar, where an auto driver lost his life due to waterlogging. PWD Minister Ms. Atishi recently wrote to the LG about the incident, urging immediate attention and action against those responsible. Today, we mourn the death of a laborer who died due to electrocution during construction work at LNJP Hospital. Had the LG acted promptly, we could have averted yet another tragic loss of life in Delhi.”

Expressing his frustration, AAP MLA Shri Kuldeep Kumar strongly advocated for accountability, stating, “Officers whose negligence leads to the loss of innocent lives should face severe consequences. However, when it comes to matters falling under the purview of the Delhi LG, like law and order, holding services accountable or temple preservation, etc., he consistently chooses to turn a blind eye and deafen his ears, disregarding the voices, words, and pain of the people. This is the very issue that AAP has been tirelessly fighting against. If the services were under the purview of the elected Kejriwal government today, such negligent officers would have been swiftly punished, preventing the recurrence of such incidents and saving precious lives. It is high time the Delhi LG takes cognizance of matters directly linked to the life and death of the people. We call upon the LG VK Saxena to acknowledge and carry out his duties, ensuring the safety and well-being of the residents of Delhi.”

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