Delhi: Sai Baba Labelled a Muslim & Jihadi, Idol ‘Demolished’
“Sai Baba was a lawless raider. His name was Chand Khan. He was a jihadi,” Narsinghanand Saraswati said.
After a video of a Sai Baba being called a Muslim inside a Shiv temple was shared on social media, a media house found out that it had since been replaced by a Ganesha idol while the devotees expressed despair that such a move was taken without taking them into confidence.
According to a report by Scroll.in, the man in the video overseeing the ‘demolition’ at the Shahpur Jat temple in South Delhi is Padam Panwar. Panwar can been seen in another video with Hindutva priest Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati. Saraswati is seen congratulating and blessing the man for throwing away the idol of Sai Baba.
Padam Panwar, in the light blue shirt in the video, who labeled Sai Baba a Muslim, first said he did not use a hammer on the idol and then said he did to break the idol as the road was too narrow.
Panwar said that he never knew of Saraswati and expressed shock at not knowing Muslims were not allowed to enter the temple. Panwar said Saraswati was just trying to ‘highlight himself’ and stopped recording when he tried to speak. In the video, Saraswati can be heard saying, “If I had my way, jihadis like Sai won’t be able to enter temples.”
Speaking to Scroll.in, Saraswati justified his 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.”
The locals in the area were upset, unwilling to identify themselves as the people in the video are ‘goons’ and one can not go against them.
Bharat Panwar, who claimed to be a spokesperson for the temple, told Scroll.in that the Sai Baba idol had only been removed as it was found damaged. “There was no disrespect as everyone agreed to (the removal),” he told Scroll.in. Cops from Hauz Khas police station told the media house that they had spoken to the temple authorities who said that the idol was removed as the temple was being renovated.
Who is Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati?
Controversial Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati’s name has cropped up again after his disciple, Shringi Yadav, was spotted in a video where he is reportedly seen thrashing a 14-year-old Muslim boy on 11 March, allegedly for entering the Dasna Devi Mandir in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh to drink water. Saraswati is the temple priest of this temple.
A board has been put up outside the temple, stating, “Ye mandir Hinduon ka pavitra sthal hai, yahan Musalmanon ka pravesh varjit hai (this temple is a holy place for Hindus, entry of Muslims is strictly prohibited).”
On a number of occasions, Saraswati’s name has come up in connection with raising of communal tensions in western Uttar Pradesh, including in areas adjoining Delhi. Saraswati has been calling for a “final war against Muslims” and believes that “Islam must be removed to save humanity”.
He has also been the leader of a Hindutva organisation, Hindu Swabhiman and president of the Akhil Bharatiya Sant Parishad.
Saraswati had allegedly made several incendiary comments a day before the 23 February communal riots in northeast Delhi, such as “Humanity can be saved only if we finish off Islam” and “If we don’t remove an evil like Islam from society, how will we survive?”
In 2017, a video of gunshots being fired at the Dasna Devi temple went viral, exposing how people were being trained in the use of guns at the temple. On being asked if the guns being used are legal, Saraswati’s response was, “License? When the war with ISIS begins, these laws won’t make a difference.”
In a documentary by The Quint in 2015, Saraswati’s aides could be seen telling a child that he needs to learn how to use weapons to “fight Muslims who are exploiting Hindu women.” The documentary also reveals how Saraswati himself was spreading hatred against Muslims.
(With inputs from Scroll,in)
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