Recently, the Devi temple of Dasna, Ghaziabad has been under limelight after a teenage Muslim boy named Asif claimed that he was beaten for trying to drink some water inside the temple premises.
Several opposition leaders, including local MLA Aslam Chaudhary, former Delhi MLA Alka Lamba, Congress President Vijendra Yadav and others, have lined up to meet Asif. On March 15, 2021, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA from Dholana, Aslam Chaudhary, reached Asif’s house and talked to him. During his visit, Aslam claimed that irrespective of religion, everyone has the right to visit a religious place. He further said that the Devi temple is his ancestor’s legacy and called the temple priest a goon. He demanded action against those who indulge in such acts.
Aslam said, “Dasna temple belongs to our ancestors. It was built by our ancestors. Some goons have taken over the temple. They came from outside and captured the temple. They are trying to spoil harmony with their activities. However, there is so much unity among Hindus and Muslims in this area that they did not let them spoil the atmosphere. I want to tell these goons that the temple is our heritage. I will go to drink water in the temple and take care of the temple. I will see who can stop me.”
Talking about the incident, Aslam said that the person who beat up Asif was in jail by the evening. He said he would ask the DM and SP to remove the board that says, “Muslims are not allowed to enter the temple.”
Using derogatory language against the temple priest, he said, “This baba is a mafia. He is spoiling the atmosphere in the area. If we had known about the incident, it would have been a serious situation. We will not allow his bail.”
Aslam Chaudhary’s son was also caught harassing girls inside the temple, says Mahant
Yanti Narasimhanand Saraswati, the Mahant of the temple, claimed that Shiv Shakti Dham has a tap near the main gate and another tap close-by. If someone wants to drink water, why would he go inside the premises? He further claimed that it is a conspiracy against the temple. He alleged that there had been incidents of robbery at least four times in the temple premises.
There had been incidents of molestation of women and girls visiting the temple. To stop anti-social elements of the particular community, the temple authorities have placed a board at the temple entrance where it is clearly written, “The entry of Muslims is forbidden here.” It is being claimed that the board was installed around 7-8 years ago. He said, “Last year, the son of MLA Aslam Chaudhary was caught teasing a girl in the temple. He was beaten up by the locals. He was also a minor at that time. The police intervened and pressurised us to withdraw the complaint.”
The temple priests have stated that local Muslims often target the temple to sexually harass female devotees and steal valuables. Mahant Yati Narasimhanand Saraswati also added that the area has 95% Muslim population and the lone Hindu temple has long been the target of local goons. He also added that the temple authorities were forced to deploy armed security guards after repeated incidents of attack.
“Why would he come to the temple? The temple was robbed four times in the past. The priests were beaten up. We are protecting our property from thieves. Lakhs and crores of the property had been stolen from the temple,” another priest had added.
Aslam Chaudhary’s background
BSP MLA Aslam Chaudhary from Dhaulana is a dominating leader in the region. He had been named in several cases in the past. A case was registered against him for assaulting a toll collection officer. Reports suggest that MLA and his goons beat the toll workers and severely injured them. Aslam and his sons were booked in a case of forgery and cheating as well. In another case, Aslam was booked for attempted murder.