Days after a Muslim boy named Asif was thrashed for allegedly drinking water at a Hindu temple in Dasna area of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, the Head Priest (Mahant) Yati Narasinhanand Saraswati has dismissed the charges.
In an interview with The Quint, he pointed out that the Muslim population in the area is around 95% while Hindus comprise only 5% of the population. Yati Narasihanand Saraswati said that the Hindu temple, where the incident took place, is frequented by several female devotees from nearby villages who are often targetted by Muslim goons. He added that whenever a complaint was lodged against the harassment meted out to the female devotees, the Muslim society would come out in support of the accused.
The Mahant emphasised that incidents of theft, assault and sexual harassment of female devotees went on to such an extent that the temple management was forced to bar the entry of Muslims in the temple premises.
“If a Hindu boy does such an act, the family will warn him against repeating such actions. But this is not the case with Muslims,” the Mahant added. Aggrieved by the constant harassment, the temple authorities had put up a signboard, barring the entry of Muslims into the premises. While speaking about the issue at hand, he said that the real motive of the boy was not to ‘drink water’. To substantiate his claims, Yati Narasihanand Saraswati pointed out that there were two water taps, one across the road and one right at the entrance of the temple.
The Quint reporter argued that the boy was illiterate and therefore could not read the signboard. “How come a 14-15 year-old boy does not know how to read?” the Mahant inquired. “What is the point of raising so many children if they can’t even provide basic literacy? Is it to commit theft, robbery and loot? This temple has been robbed 4 times. Several Mahants had been killed or forced to leave. This is the history of this temple. Did you report about any of this?” he asked.
Mahant Yati questions Quint and its biased reporting
Yati Narasihanand Saraswati said that Muslims will be allowed within the temple premises, only if they come to offer prayers as per Hindu customs and faith. He also showed his willingness to visit a mosque if he is allowed to undertake Hindu rituals there. However, he emphasised that attempts to molest female devotees, desecrating Hindu idols and plotting murder conspiracies would not be tolerated. The Mahant said that he has been facing death threats from the Popular Front of India (PFI) and local Muslims.
The Head Priest added that when the Muslims in the area failed to harm him, they instead killed BJP’s local leader BS Tomar in Dudhi Peepal village in Dasna area. “Did the Quint bother to make a documentary on it?” he asked. Yati Narasihanand Saraswati, “I feel bad when media organisations rush to temples over a small incident to defame Hindus but do not pay any heed to real events.”
Mahant Yati Narasinhanand Saraswati asserted that the temple is a private property and not a public property. He stated that the temple management body reserves the right of entry and even journalists and government officials, if they are Muslim, will not be allowed inside the premises.
Minor son of Aslam Chaudhary was thrashed last year for molesting women
Citing an incident from last year, Yati Narasihanand Saraswati said that the son of local MLA Aslam Chaudhary was thrashed inside temple premises for molesting a female devotee. He reiterated that he was a minor too. “Did ‘The Quint’ or ‘The Wire’ cover it? The incident was caught on CCTV camera. They had pressurised the police to withdraw the case. This temple if our property. It is not open for everyone. This temple is only for the followers of Sanatan Dharma,” the Mahant added.
Won’t let them molest our daughters, say Yati Narasihanand Saraswati
He also vowed to fight the matter legally, after his followers were arrested by the police for thrashing the Muslim boy. Yati Narasinhanand Saraswati pointed out that a section of the media, who receive funding from abroad and Jihadists, is not leaving any stone unturned to target the temples. “We don’t go to your mosque. We don’t harass your women. Still, our temple is being targeted? I will not allow anyone to come here and molest our daughters,” he concluded.
Asif beaten because he was caught stealing: Local
Earlier, a pandit (priest) at the temple had rubbished reports which claimed that Asif was thrashed for being a Muslim or for drinking water. He contended that he was beaten because people have been caught indulging in antisocial activities at the temple compound.
“This has been a pattern for a few years now. These people (Muslims) are often caught vandalising inside the premises. They have been caught urinating on the idols and even letting their domestic animals defecate inside the sanctuaries. They are also caught stealing steel pipes and other things from the compound. He (Asif) was also found stealing something. The story that he was in the temple for drinking water is simply hogwash. He is not the only one. There are, at least 50 Muslims like him, who enter the temple compound with the aim of stealing valuables. When they are caught, they claim innocence by claiming they were in the compound for drinking water,” he said.
The pandit contended that men from the other community in the region enter temple premises during day hours for recce purposes and later in the night carry out robberies. He cited 4 instances of dacoities when valuables in the temple compound were stolen.