In the heat of the violence in Haryana's Nuh, one claim that did the rounds is that people participating in the Shobha Yatra were being "held hostage" at a Shiv temple. Even the state's home minister Anil Vij had claimed that the Yatris were being held against their will at the temple. The pandit (priest) of the Shiv temple has put forward a different version.
The Naleshwar Mahadev Mandir, in Nuh’s Nalhar village, is a grand Shiv temple where many were “taking shelter”, the pandit told The Quint.
On the evening of Monday, 31 July, Vij had told ANI that “Some people were held against their will inside a temple. Those trapped inside the temple shared their live location with me through Google navigation.” Moreover, some news organisations had reported that the temple had been attacked by rioters. However, the pandit denied both these claims.
“This is a very old and important temple. This is the month of Sawan, so there is a lot of footfall as it is. I was aware of the Shobha Yatra and the fact that yatris will be coming here,” pandit Deepak Sharma told The Quint.
“Nothing happened at the temple, it wasn’t attacked. When the yatris began leaving from the temple late Monday afternoon, they witnessed tensions on the streets and couldn’t proceed. So they came back and took shelter here to protect themselves,” Shama said. He added that “2000-2500 people” took shelter at the temple.
When The Quint visited the temple on Tuesday, 1 August, the temple was packed with security officials and police teams. “As you can see, there is very strong police and security presence now. So things are fine,” Sharma said.
"Not Too Fond of Sloganeering, People Should Come to Pray With Love": Temple Pandit
Regarding the Shobha Yatra, Sharma said that he is “not too fond of sloganeering.”
“It’s very important to remember God, it’s very good in fact. But everything should be done in accordance with religion. Harmony and good relations with others should be maintained,” Sharma said, adding that he doesn’t know who is at fault.
On the question of allegations of provocative sloganeering done by the Yatris, Sharma said, “I don’t have any particular attachment to sloganeering. I only think people should come and pray to God, take God’s name, come with love and leave with love, that is it.”
Violence broke out on Monday during the Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra or the Shobha Yatra, and continued on Tuesday in different parts of Haryana, starting from Nuh and spreading to Sohna and Gurugram. A total of five people have been reported dead in the state so far, including two home guards and two locals in Nuh and one Naib Imam in Gurugram's Sector 57.