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Man who allegedly removed Sai Baba idol from Delhi temple, arrested

The idol was removed from a Shiv Mandir in Shahpur Jat on March 25, and has since been replaced by a Ganesh idol

Sabrangindia 07 Apr 2021

Image Courtesy:scroll.in

Padam Panwar, the man accused of allegedly demolishing a Sai Baba idol at a temple in Delhi’s Shahpur Jat, was arrested on Monday, April 5. According to news reports, 50-year-old Panwar who is also a temple committee member was arrested for allegedly making "derogatory" remarks and “removing” the idol of Sai Baba from the temple.

Police had acted on a complaint filed by Sai Baba devotees who were upset after a video of the purported removal of the idol surfaced on social media. The video showed a man “supervising” the removal of the idol and also making disparaging comments against Sai Baba, who is revered by lakhs. The police complaint was filed on April 3, and the devotees had alleged that the removal of the Sai Baba idol had hurt their religious sentiment as did the alleged "derogatory" statements made against the sage.

According to news reports Delhi police lodged an FIR under the charges of deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs and of promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. It was reported that initial investigations revealed that it was Panwar who was seen in the video, “supervising” the removal of the idol and making the "derogatory" remarks. Panwar was reportedly arguing as to what religion Sai Baba represented.

As reported earlier the sage Sai Baba of Shirdi holds a special place in the hearts of devotees in the national capital, who were shocked as news of the alleged attack on his idol. The devotees had also requested “the restoration of Baba’s idol in the same temple premises as soon as possible.”

The Sai Baba idol was allegedly removed from the Purana Shiv Mandir in Shahpur Jat area on March 25. According to multiple news reports quoting local residents, it  was replaced with a Ganesh idol. Members of the temple committee, however, had claimed that the Sai Baba the idol was “taken down because it was old”. However the man in the video who seemed to be directing the removal reportedly pointed to the idol and said: “He was no God, he died in 1918, he was a Muslim…”

He was soon identified by the locals as temple committee member, Padam Panwar. Panwar had also told the media that he was innocent and that he made no comment on Sai Baba being a Muslim, “I did not say anything of that sort. If there is any video, it is fake…”. He had added that the temple was being reconstructed and the committee will hold a meeting to “take a call on whether a new Sai Baba idol will be set up or not.” 

Bharat Panwar, another temple committee member, had added, “The Sai Baba idol was placed here in 2009… For now, a Ganesh idol has been set up and the Sai Baba idol has been removed… All decisions by the temple committee are taken bearing the residents’ wishes in mind and no resident had any complaint.” 

However, Padam Panwar was seen in another video seated next to Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati who is well known for his hate speeches against Muslims. Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) had even approached the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and National Commission for Minorities with a complaint against the assault on a minor boy Asif, for entering a temple to drink water by Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati’s disciple and the subsequent justification of the hate crime.  CJP, through the complaint, also apprised the Commissions about its recent complaint dated March 10 against Yati’s Islamophobic and provocative speeches that openly instigate Hindus to ‘fight’ and ‘sacrifice’ for India before it becomes an ‘Islamic Nation’. 

Saraswati was seen in the new video reportedly congratulating and blessing the Panwar for “breaking and throwing away” the idol of “pakhandi Sai” (fraudster Sai), and saying, “If I had my way, jihadis like Sai won’t be able to enter temples.” Saraswati told the media persons, “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.” According to the Scroll, one Jitender Panwar, who was also seen in the video instructing the workers removing the idol, had shared a message on the Shahpur Jat society’s WhatsApp group on March 27 claimed that the popularity of Sai Baba “also known as Chand Miyan” was a “conspiracy economically supported by the Islamic world”.  

Related:

Sai Baba devotees file police complaint, after idol removed from S Delhi temple
Bigot on Facebook attacks Sai Baba imagery
England cricketers, sports fans clean bowl Taslima Nasreen’s xenophibic comments on Moeen Ali
Mumbai court takes cognisance of hate speech complaint against Payal Rohatgi 

Man who allegedly removed Sai Baba idol from Delhi temple, arrested

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

Image Courtesy:scroll.in

Padam Panwar, the man accused of allegedly demolishing a Sai Baba idol at a temple in Delhi’s Shahpur Jat, was arrested on Monday, April 5. According to news reports, 50-year-old Panwar who is also a temple committee member was arrested for allegedly making "derogatory" remarks and “removing” the idol of Sai Baba from the temple.

Police had acted on a complaint filed by Sai Baba devotees who were upset after a video of the purported removal of the idol surfaced on social media. The video showed a man “supervising” the removal of the idol and also making disparaging comments against Sai Baba, who is revered by lakhs. The police complaint was filed on April 3, and the devotees had alleged that the removal of the Sai Baba idol had hurt their religious sentiment as did the alleged "derogatory" statements made against the sage.

According to news reports Delhi police lodged an FIR under the charges of deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs and of promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. It was reported that initial investigations revealed that it was Panwar who was seen in the video, “supervising” the removal of the idol and making the "derogatory" remarks. Panwar was reportedly arguing as to what religion Sai Baba represented.

As reported earlier the sage Sai Baba of Shirdi holds a special place in the hearts of devotees in the national capital, who were shocked as news of the alleged attack on his idol. The devotees had also requested “the restoration of Baba’s idol in the same temple premises as soon as possible.”

The Sai Baba idol was allegedly removed from the Purana Shiv Mandir in Shahpur Jat area on March 25. According to multiple news reports quoting local residents, it  was replaced with a Ganesh idol. Members of the temple committee, however, had claimed that the Sai Baba the idol was “taken down because it was old”. However the man in the video who seemed to be directing the removal reportedly pointed to the idol and said: “He was no God, he died in 1918, he was a Muslim…”

He was soon identified by the locals as temple committee member, Padam Panwar. Panwar had also told the media that he was innocent and that he made no comment on Sai Baba being a Muslim, “I did not say anything of that sort. If there is any video, it is fake…”. He had added that the temple was being reconstructed and the committee will hold a meeting to “take a call on whether a new Sai Baba idol will be set up or not.” 

Bharat Panwar, another temple committee member, had added, “The Sai Baba idol was placed here in 2009… For now, a Ganesh idol has been set up and the Sai Baba idol has been removed… All decisions by the temple committee are taken bearing the residents’ wishes in mind and no resident had any complaint.” 

However, Padam Panwar was seen in another video seated next to Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati who is well known for his hate speeches against Muslims. Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) had even approached the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and National Commission for Minorities with a complaint against the assault on a minor boy Asif, for entering a temple to drink water by Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati’s disciple and the subsequent justification of the hate crime.  CJP, through the complaint, also apprised the Commissions about its recent complaint dated March 10 against Yati’s Islamophobic and provocative speeches that openly instigate Hindus to ‘fight’ and ‘sacrifice’ for India before it becomes an ‘Islamic Nation’. 

Saraswati was seen in the new video reportedly congratulating and blessing the Panwar for “breaking and throwing away” the idol of “pakhandi Sai” (fraudster Sai), and saying, “If I had my way, jihadis like Sai won’t be able to enter temples.” Saraswati told the media persons, “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.” According to the Scroll, one Jitender Panwar, who was also seen in the video instructing the workers removing the idol, had shared a message on the Shahpur Jat society’s WhatsApp group on March 27 claimed that the popularity of Sai Baba “also known as Chand Miyan” was a “conspiracy economically supported by the Islamic world”.  

Related:

Sai Baba devotees file police complaint, after idol removed from S Delhi temple
Bigot on Facebook attacks Sai Baba imagery
England cricketers, sports fans clean bowl Taslima Nasreen’s xenophibic comments on Moeen Ali
Mumbai court takes cognisance of hate speech complaint against Payal Rohatgi 

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