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Shimla: Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) has said that it is going to hold a rally in Kullu on Monday to protest against the state government’s decision to take control of the revered Raghunath Temple.

 

The announcement came a day after HLP president and Kullu MLA Maheshwar Singh, who is a descendant of Kullu’s royal family and is the custodian of the shrine, filed a petition in the high court to challenge the decision to form a trust for managing the affairs of the temple.

A spokesperson for HLP claimed the government’s decision to take over the shrine was political. Even the BJP, with whom Maheshwar had parted ways ahead of the 2012 elections, has accused the state government of targeting Maheshwar, saying that he had already made public his plans to make a comeback in the party. In the petition, which will be heard by a division bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan on Monday, Maheshwar said the temple was a private property and the government had no right to acquire it.

He has maintained that the decision to take over the temple was “unconstitutional and arbitrary”, seeking a a stay on the government notification during pendency of the petition.

Chief minister Virbhadra Singh has refuted the claims made by Maheshwar and the BJP, saying that the people of Kullu had been requesting the government to take over the temple for better management. “The temple belongs to people, not to any individual,” he said.