The Amritsar district administration has ordered heavy deployment of police at Ram Tirath town, to prevent any flare-up between two communities over the possession of a piece of land, where Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal recently laid the foundation stone for the construction of a temple in the memory of Maharishi Valmiki, who wrote the holy scriptures of Ramayan.
Recently, a local court ruled in favour of one Mahant Baldev Giri upholding his claim over the piece of land, which is in the possession of the Trust managing the shrine Dhunna Sahib. The trust is headed by a leader of the Valmiki community, Om Parkash Gabbar, who not only owes allegiance to the Shiromani Akali Dal but is an elected member of the Amritsar Municipal Corporation. Tense situations have been reported every time Mahant Giri and his representatives, accompanied by court officials, proceeded to take possession of the land. The Valmiki temple is planned to be constructed there at a cost of Rs. 115 crore.
On Sunday, when the court officials reached the spot, members of the Valmiki community turned up in large numbers to resist the procedure. Witnesses said that some members from both groups carried sharp-edged weapons, after which the district administration ordered heavy deployment of police personnel.
Senior Superintendent of Police for Amritsar (Rural) Manmohan Singh reached the spot and supervised efforts to defuse the situation, served an ultimatum to Mr. Gabbar to obtain a stay from a higher court or vacate the land within two days. Personnel from the neighbouring Tarn Taran and Majita police districts were requisitioned to prevent any ugly scenes.
With major objections being aired by some groups owing allegiance to the Mahants, the local police deployed a special contingent of armed personnel to guard the foundation stone.
Ram Tirath town is associated with saint Valmiki, as well as Sita, who raised her sons Luv and Kush there after having been banished from Ayodhya.