On Wednesday night, some unidentified elements were reported to have vandalised an old idol of Lord Shiva situated at Rani Ki Sarai area of Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh. The idol was installed in 1984 and locals used to offer their prayers there. They were angered when they discovered the vandalised idol on Thursday morning.
The angry locals demanded the police to arrest the culprits as well as install a new idol of Lord Shiva. The local administration accepted both the demands and on Friday morning a man named Chandrakant Saroj was arrested on charges of vandalising the idol. Police claims that he is mentally unsound and had vandalised another Shiva idol in the same area earlier this month.
Local media reports suggest that the man, described mentally unsound, was arguing with the police and local people justifying his acts. He is reported to have argued that if people did not protest against Aamir Khan’s (on-screen) deeds in the movie PK, why should his acts be opposed?
For the uninitiated, a man wearing the costume of Lord Shiva was seen being scared of Aamir Khan’s character in the movie PK, which was a satirical commentary on many religious beliefs. Many argued that the movie was against idol worship too, though that is a matter of interpretation.
However, the deeds of this man may not be entirely ‘inspired’ by PK, because he is being claimed mentally unstable by the police and even by his family members, who say that he has picked up ‘enmity’ with the god, especially Lord Shiva, because of series of misfortunes in his personal life.
Incidentally, this is not the only incident of Lord Shiva’s idol being broken in Uttar Pradesh when the holy month of Shraavan is going on. A cursory look at Hindi newspapers throw up at least 8 incidents of Lord Shiva’s idols being desecrated in different cities of Uttar Pradesh in the ongoing month. This is in addition to various incidents of other Hindu gods or goddesses’ idols also being desecrated or such incidents taking place in earlier months in Uttar Pradesh or in other states of India.
Apart from Azamgarh, Moradabad, Meerut, Jhansi, Farrukhabad, Kannauj, and Kanpur are some of the cities witnessing desecration of Lord Shiva’s idols in the current month. Coincidentally, police had claimed mentally unsound guys behind half of these vandalism incidents, though at least one such claim was disputed. Apart from desecration of Lord Shiva idols, this month has also seen attack on kaanvariyas, the shiva devotees, in Uttar Pradesh.