Noida: A temple dedicated to Ravana was vandalised by unidentified persons in Bisrakh, Greater Noida, on Tuesday afternoon. A group of young men, flaunting saffron scarves, entered the Radha Krishan temple and vandalised the idol of Ravana and one other deity.
Acharya Ashoka Nand Maharaj, a member of the temple’s governing body, said it was an ancient temple where the statues of some gods, goddesses and Ravana were placed. “Some unidentified people holding saffron flags visited the temple on bikes and cars in the afternoon. They vandalised the temple and broke the glass windows. The also broke the statues of the deities,” he said.
Maharaj said some workers at the temple were threatened with dire consequences if they reported the crime. He alleged the suspects also snatched the mobile phone of the temple’s caretaker.
A police team rushed to the spot soon after receiving the information but the damage had been done. According to Rakesh Kumar, deputy superintendent of police, CO III, Greater Noida, locals alleged that a group of right wing activists opposed the presence of Ravana’s idol in the temple. “They alleged that some people forcibly entered the temple, which is undergoing renovation, and broke the idol of Ravana before fleeing the spot,” he said.
Police have not received any complaint from the villagers yet. “A case will be registered once they give us a written complaint. We have recorded the statements of some witnesses, which were contradictory. Local police are keeping tabs on the situation,” Kumar said.
Locals had decided to set up statues of Ram and Ravana in the same temple on August 11. However, they have now postponed the programme.
Bisrakh village is 15km away from Noida and has a population of around 15,000. The villagers believe that Ravana was born in the village and believe that demonising him will bring misfortune to the residents.
Meanwhile, Dudheshwar temple head Seer Mahant Narayan Giri Maharaj, along with representatives of some other Hindu organisations, on Tuesday held a press conference in Ghaziabad and said the Hindu community would not tolerate any temple devoted to Ravana. “Ravana is a symbol of atrocities. We burn his effigy every year. Worshipping Ravana would mean giving legitimacy to a wrong tradition. We will not let this happen at any cost,” he said.