After the railways issued a notice to move the 250-year-old Chamunda Devi Temple from the premises of the Raja ki Mandi Railway Station in Agra, Hindu groups threatened to commit mass suicide.
Moreover, the issue started on April 20, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Anand Swaroop sent a notice to the temple authorities requesting that the structure be removed from the railway station grounds.
The railway would transfer the platform if the temple is not removed
According to the notification, “The temple has to be relocated because it is causing a lot of problems for the passengers. Railways would transfer the platform if the temple is not removed.”
As part of an anti-encroachment campaign, notices have also been given for the relocation of a mosque and a dargah.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal activists chanted the Hanuman Chalisa at the office of the DRM for the North Central Railway’s Agra division in support of the temple administration.
Moreover, Mahant Virendra Anand informed about the temple’s history “This temple dates back 300 years. Even if we die, no one will be able to move a single brick of this temple.”
In addition, he said, “What the DRM doesn’t know is that the temple has been around for over two centuries. The railway track that you see today was built by the Britishers. Many devotees come here to pray. Locals, even passengers who board trains pray at the temple.”
Further, Mahant Virendra Anand told sources that he had been the temple’s priest since he was a youngster and that his predecessors also worked there.
Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Hindu Parishad Bharat’s national president, Govind Parashar, declared, “We are willing to defend the temple at any costs. The Rashtriya Hindu Parishad would not allow the British-era temple to be relocated from its existing location.”
“Even the British left the temple unharmed during the construction of the rails, as evidenced by a curve in the track. The administration is delivering notices without knowing anything about the location’s past.”
“There should be an amicable solution. The DM has assured us that he will make us and the DMR sit together and try to find a middle ground,” he added.
“Encroachments are being removed in line with the Supreme Court directives,” Prashasti Srivastava, divisional commercial manager and public relations officer for the North Central Railways’ Agra division, stated.
In addition, she continued to say, “On April 20, 2022, we addressed a notification to the head priest of the temple on the platform of Raja Ki Mandi train station.”
“The notices to the temple and dargah and mosque have been sent as a part of the encroachment drive in compliance with the order of the Supreme Court. We have also issued a notice to a mosque and a dargah located on the railroad land on the premises of the Agra Cantt Railway Station. And they have been given time to present their documents by May 13,” she said.
Former Hindu Jagran Manch secretary Surendra Bhagore remarked, “We want the Divisional Railway Manager in Agra to face consequences for his actions. He has been requesting that the temple be demolished.”
On the one hand, the notice has temple officials scratching their heads. Caretakers of the Bhure Shah Baba Dargah and a mosque established in the Agra Cantt Railway Station, on the other hand, are attempting to respond to notices addressed to them.
Tufail, the dargah’s caretaker, spoke about the dargah’s history and his family’s relationship to the dargah.
He explained “I am 45 years old and have been visiting this dargah for the past 25 years. How is it possible to construct a dargah on railway property?”
“My grandfather came to Agra in the 1920s. Since then, my family has been coming here. Suddenly, the railway started sending us notices. This is unfair and we will fight tooth and nail,” he said.
According to Kamesh Saxena, a Cantt resident, “The dargah isn’t interfering with any plans. We acknowledge that this is railway property, but we have paperwork proving that the land was granted to us for the purpose of building this dargah.”
However, officials from the railway have posted a notice on the dargah wall for all to see. On May 13, the respondents will appear in railway court for a hearing.