Delhi Police Arrest Man Who ‘Demolished’ Sai Baba Idol at Temple 

The idol was removed from a Shiv Mandir in Shahpur Jat on 25 March, and has since been replaced by a Ganesh idol.

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India
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Padam Panwar was arrested on Monday, 5 April by Delhi Police following complaints from Sai Baba devotees from across the city.
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Padam Panwar, responsible for allegedly demolishing a Sai Baba idol at a Shiv temple in Delhi’s Shahpur Jat, was arrested on Monday, 5 April, by the Delhi Police following complaints from Sai Baba devotees.

The devotees had approached the police on 3 April after the video of the removal of the idol surfaced on social media.

Panwar can be seen supervising the ‘demolition’ and making derogatory remarks about Sai Baba’s religion, which the devotees claim hurt their religious sentiments.

A police official said that based on a complaint, an investigation was initiated and an FIR was filed under the charges of “deliberate and malicious acts” intended to outrage religious sentiments of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs and of promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of religion, race, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony.

Panwar was seen in another video with the controversial Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, who congratulated and blessed Panwar for removing the idol of Sai Baba.

In the video, Saraswati was heard saying, “If I had my way, jihadis like Sai won’t be able to enter temples.”

An FIR was also filed again Saraswati by the Delhi Police on Sunday, for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by making derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammad and Islam at the Press Club of India, The Print reported.

Speaking to Scroll.in, Saraswati had justified Panwar’s move and said, “Sai Baba was a pindari lootera (lawless raider). His name was Chand Khan. He was a jihadi. It is the madness of our Hindus that he is now in our temples.”

What Did the Temple Authorities Say?

The idol was removed from the Purana Shiv Mandir in Shahpur Jat on Thursday, 25 March, and has since been replaced by a Ganesh idol.

The temple authorities had earlier claimed that the idol was removed as it had been damaged over time. However, devotees didn’t agree to or believe the claim.

Further, the temple authorities had told the police, “This idol was set up by temple committee member Padam Panwar. Now Padam Panwar, along with other committee members such as Bharat Panwar, Jiya Panwar, Satyanarayan, Naresh, Mohan Panwar and Pandit ji, decided to set up a new idol with the consent of local residents.”

Meanwhile, the police said that further investigation is underway in the matter.

(With inputs from PTI and Scroll.)

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