STORY: Hindus in India’s northern temple town of Varanasi, stood knee-deep in the holy river Ganges as a part of a passive resistance against demolition of temples for expansion of roads in the city on Tuesday (July 10).
The protestors sloganeered and held placards while standing in the water, demanding the immediate re-establishing of the temples that were demolished as a part of the drive and said that they don’t want the kind of development which would demolish their temples. Hindu seer, Swami Abhimukteshwar, who has been fasting for the last six days, is the key proponent behind the resistance and he plans to continue his fast for the next 12 days.
The temples are being demolished to make way for the construction of a corridor from Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath temple to the river Ganges. This has sparked anger from Hindu devotees. We don’t want cement or sand or a land only to stop the demolition of the temples where our ancestors prayed, said Swami Abhimukteshwar.
Authorities have planned for building a 700 metre ‘Kashi corridor’ on the banks of the holy river in Varanasi that can potentially accommodate 3,000 devotees at a time. The pathway from the ancient Kashi Vishwanath Temple to Ganga Ghat is being constructed to enhance comfort levels of the devotees, according to the government.
Under this development plan, which also includes the construction of an 800-feet banquet hall where pilgrims can rest/relax after praying, some old houses and temples are expected to be tore down. The state government has already procured nearly 60 houses coming in the way.