Rajasthan ADG bans temple construction on police station premises 

PUCL lauds the move, but calls for stricter implementation to ensure preservation of secular nature of public authorities 

Rajasthan ADG bans temple construction on police station premisesRepresentation Image

Rajasthan’s Additional Director General of Police (Police Housing) A. Ponnuchami has issued a circular (dated October 25, 2021) barring temple construction within police stations and nearby premises. The Rajasthan chapter of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has lauded the move but called for further strict implementation of the decision to ensure secular public places.

“Over past years, various police departments have created many places of worship in the name of religion, which is illegal as per the Rajasthan Religious Buildings and Public Places Act, 1954,” said Ponnuchami in the circular, before barring such construction in police areas.

As per the law, places of worship cannot be constructed in any public place, including government buildings, parks and other places, unless the District Collector and civic authorities allow it. Yet, according to PUCL President Kavita Srivastava said temple construction has become a part of police building plans. The growth of temples in police stations and other public places is a brazen encroachment done for the politics of religious competitiveness rather than genuine faith, she said. Therefore, she argued that the circular must be backed by a strong initiative to prevent such violations of the law.

“It means standing with those authorities who will face a backlash from the Hindutva and other religious forces, when they will try to implement the law,” said Srivastava.

For this, Station House Officers and others must be booked when they allow such constructions and favour those people who cause obstruction in the enforcement of this law. PUCL encouraged all government departments, including administrative authorities of the judiciary, to issue similar orders.

PUCL had previously conducted a survey in the premises of the secretariat building, the High Court and other areas and found that they housed over two dozen temples. About a dozen temples were built inside the secretariat building and premises!

“We had written several letters in the decade demanding strict implementation of the law. We are glad that, for a start, the ADG Police has taken the first step to stop the violation of the law within government departments,” said Srivastava.

Meanwhile, the State Opposition BJP said that the “illogical” order exposed the Congress-led state government’s “anti-Hindu face” because praying in police stations is an old tradition and the police are a “self-disciplined force.”


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