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Exploiting Religion For Land

on 2001/3/22 8:48:02 ( 1393 reads )


LUCKNOW, INDIA, March 20, 2001: Building temples has become one way to grab land in some parts of India. An unauthorized temple often begins with the installation of the Deity and then grows into a full-fledged temple over time. In Lucknow's Gomti Nagar township, large green stretches of land and parks were planned for the new residential area. As people began moving into newly-built apartments, someone quietly placed a few rocks and a Siva Linga in the corner of one such park. The corner began to draw attention and soon a brick wall was erected. Today the site has become a full-fledged Siva temple and the grounds cover more than 100 square meters of parkland. In another case, a person started a temple on a corner facing a busy traffic intersection. He then transformed the building into a restaurant. Now no one can uproot this encroachment now that the person running the restaurant has managed to get an injunction against a court-ordered demolition. Building temples has become one of the easiest and most convenient means of grabbing land because the culprits are aware of the immunity they enjoy. The encroachment may end up being a traffic hazard or inconvenience to the public but everyone falls in line because mosques and temples are too sacred to be touched by anyone.

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