Traditional temple

Tension in Wari over demolition of ISKCON temple wall

A land dispute led a trader to demolish part of a Hindu temple, raising tension in the capital’s Wari district.

An injured devotee filed charges against nearly 100 people on Friday for attacking and demolishing a wall at the Sri Sri Radhakanta Jiu temple in Wari.

Police said the incident happened over a land dispute involving parts of the temple, known as the ISKCON temple, on Lal Mohan Shah Street in Wari on Thursday night.

Braja Pandit, a priest at the temple, said temple authorities plan to file another complaint regarding the attack and demolition of the wall.

He said nearly 100 disbelievers, led by a shopkeeper named Mohammad Shafiullah, attacked the temple on Thursday night and started demolishing the wall. The disbelievers also attacked worshipers as they tried to protest against the sudden act of demolition.

However, no incidents of looting of valuables and vandalism of idols took place, he added.

Deputy Commissioner of DMP Wari Division Shah Iftekhar Ahmed said the incident happened amid a land dispute.

The police official said Shafiullah claimed ownership of part of the land where the temple is located.

Shafiullah also claimed to have received a court order in his favour, DC Iftekhar said.

The police official added that they held a meeting with the two bickering groups on Saturday and decided to refer the case to court for a final decision.

“Until then the structure will remain as it is now,” he said, adding that they would take legal action against Shafiullah for attacking ISKCON temple worshipers.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), colloquially known as the Hare Krishna Movement or Hare Krishnas, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava religious organization.

It was founded in 1966 in New York, USA by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Its core beliefs are based on Hindu scriptures, particularly the Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana, and the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition.

ISKCON youth forum director Udbahu Nimai Das said the temple is located on 16 decimal ground.

Temple authorities have a dispute with Shafiullah over about three decimal places of land in the southeastern part of the temple, he said.

Shafiullah started demolishing the wall in the southeast part of the temple with nearly 100 people without telling anyone, Udbahu said.

A team from the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council visited the site on Friday.

Additional police forces have been deployed to the scene to prevent further unrest, the DC said. The demolished part of the temple was being rebuilt with the help of the police, he said.

The first accused Shafiullah could not be reached for comment.