Priests, traders, and local residents intensified their stir against the construction of a proposed corridor around the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan and burnt copies of the proposed designs of the project.
They also sent 108 letters written with blood to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath urging them to shelve the project and save the heritage of Vrindavan.
Markets near the temple were closed in the second half of Tuesday for the third consecutive day as the protesters staged a dharna.
“On one hand, we are seeking redressal from the apex court and on other, the agitation is being intensified, Amit Gautam, President of Banke Bihari Vyapaari Association said. As many as 108 letters written with blood have been sent to the PM and the CM with a request to save the heritage of Vrindavan, he said.
“The construction of a corridor will not only ruin the heritage of Vrindavan but we will also become homeless,” 85-year-old Shakuntala Devi Goswami, a local resident who participated in the dharna said.
“How can we sit idle when efforts are on to ruin us,” another local resident, Gyanendra Kishor Goswami, said.
“The protest against the corridor, being built on the lines of Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor project in Varanasi, began on January 12 and efforts are on to mobilise more support,” a resident, Megh Shyam said.
According to the protesters, the apex court will hear the matter on January 23.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Pradeep Mathur said his party will not remain a mute spectator to the sufferings of people. “About 300 families will be made homeless and thousands of traders along with their employees will be jobless because of this project. This is not in the interest of the residents of Vrindavan,” Mathur said.
After two devotees were killed and half a dozen sustained injuries during a stampede at the temple on Janmashtami celebrations last year, the government had constituted a committee to probe the incident and suggest remedial measures.
On December 20, 2022, in a writ petition related to the Banke Bihari Temple, the High Court had ordered the district administration to submit a development plan of the corridor with estimated costs. A survey for the construction of the corridor had begun on January 3.
(With Agency inputs)