As part of its anti-encroachment drive, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has removed extensions of the famous Sri Sonya Maruti temple in Malad West amid heavy police bandobast. The temple, believed to be one century old, stands in the middle of the road opposite Malad station. The civic body on Thursday removed extensions of the temple, including sheds and walls, claiming it to be illegal.
“The temple has been obstructing traffic. For now we have removed the extensions. However, the original temple structure and the idol will remain in the same location till we find an alternative to shift it. The area has two markets, Natraj market and Municipal market, and so it get crowded. The temple attracts hundreds of devotees,” said a senior BMC official. Following the BMC’s drive, devotees gathered in large numbers around the temple. They surrounded the temple and shouted slogans like “Hindu Bhaiyon jago jago”.
A Muslim organisation called Yuva Ekta Samajik Sanstha too has opposed the demolition. “The temple has been there for over a century. Nobody has a problem with it…,” said Nadeem Shaikh of the Yuva Ekta Samajik Sanstha. Meanwhile, Sudhir Mahadik, senior police inspector at Malad police station, said, “We have already stationed our constable there to ensure the situation doesn’t go out of control…”