Hyderabad: Late on Wednesday, the GHMC’s anti-encroachment team noticed a newly constructed cement wall surrounding the Katta Maisamma temple on Tank Bund had encroached the footpath. The officials, as part of their on-going drive, began demolishing the boundary. In no time, the staff was accosted by a few men, who noticed the demolition while passing by the bund and objected to the move citing religious sentiments.
A commotion broke out and the men questioned the audacity of the staff for pulling down the temple wall. As the crowd started to swell, local Gandhi Nagar police officials intervened. The men demanded reconstruction of the temple wall.
The cops, in order to maintain law and order, allowed them to reconstruct the cement railing around the temple. The ruckus continued on Thursday as BJP MLA Raja Singh and his followers staged a dharna and threatened to file a police complaint against the officials for removing the encroachment.
The police have reportedly asked the GHMC team to leave out this encroachment as it would create trouble in the wake of the Bonalu season. Speaking to this newspaper, Director - Enforcement, Vigilance and Disaster Management wing of the GHMC, Mr. Viswajit Kampati, explained “The Katta Maisamma temple is located opposite the Lepakshi spot on Tank Bund. Year after year, the temple organization and various associations have been occupying the footpath by increasing the temple space. On Wednesday, we observed a newly constructed pucca wall and tried to demolish it. However we had to step back considering the law & order issue. The police allowed the people to reconstruct a railing (cement fence) and this has expanded the purview”.
The Director went on the social media platform to state “We had removed an obstruction in the name of a temple on Tankbund, but its put up again due to law and order issue. So please understand that we are trying but it isn’t possible without complete public support and participation”.(sic) BJP MLA Raja Singh had a different story to tell. He told this correspondent that the corporation staff intend breaking the temple. “It is a 40-year old temple and the boundary wall was meant to prevent stray animals from entering it. During Bonalu, pujas are performed. If our volunteers had not noticed it, the corporation could have demolished the temple.”. When he was informed that it was the encroachment that the GHMC intended to demolish, he said “The corporation has changed its statement.” A complaint against the GHMC has been lodged by the BJP MLA at the Gandhi Nagar police station but no acknowledgement was issued.