Maharashtra govt. constitutes SIT to probe Nashik temple incident 

A group of people from the minority community allegedly attempted to ‘forcibly’ enter the Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik

May 16, 2023 12:12 pm | Updated 08:06 pm IST - Mumbai

Trimbakeshwar temple, one of the iconic Lord Shiva temple of twelve jyotirlingas located 24 km from Nasik. File

Trimbakeshwar temple, one of the iconic Lord Shiva temple of twelve jyotirlingas located 24 km from Nasik. File | Photo Credit: Ajaj Shaikh

The Maharashtra government has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe a recent incident in which a group of people from the minority community allegedly attempted to ‘forcibly’ enter the Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik.

A statement issued by the office of Deputy Chief Minister and State Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said that an officer of the rank of Additional-Director General (ADG) would head the SIT. A First Information Report too has been filed in the case.

Also Read: Now, men too can’t enter core area in Trimbakeshwar

“A group representing a certain community had tried to enter the main gate of the temple. The SIT will not only conduct a strict probe into this incident, but will also investigate a similar incident which took place last year at the same temple,” the statement said.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said that the local administration and people should coordinate to maintain peace and law and order in the State.

“It is the responsibility of the administration to maintain law and order but people must also cooperate. Members from every community must come forward and maintain peace,” Mr. Shinde said in Mumbai.

Also Read: Scuffle at Trimbakeshwar temple

According to police authorities, security guards had allegedly stopped an attempt by a group of six-seven persons who allegedly tried to enter the north gate of the Trimbakeshwar temple on Saturday night.

As per temple trust authorities, non-Hindus are not permitted to enter the temple, which is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.

‘Misunderstanding’

Nashik Rural Police authorities have attributed the incident to a ‘misunderstanding’ that occurred when some members of the minority community wanted to go inside the temple premises when their procession was under way.

According to them, officials and security men told the group that they could not enter the temple premises after which the group assured they would not henceforth attempt to enter the premises.

Following the incident, senior police officials said that there was peace in Trimbakeshwar and that there was no problem in the law and order situation.

Communal clashes

Apart from the Nashik incident, a heightening of social tensions was seen in the past week following clashes between two communities in a part of Akola city and Shevgaon in Ahmednagar district which left one person dead (in Akola), at least 15 persons injured and several vehicles destroyed. More than 100 persons have been detained in connection with the Akola rioting case.

Nana Patole’s allegation

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole targeted Mr. Fadnavis and accused the current government of attempting to stoke Hindu-Muslim riots and creating divisions between the two communities.  

Mr. Patole questioned the tardy police response in the Akola case and the absence of Mr. Fadnavis — who is also Guardian Minister of Akola — from the trouble zone.

“Is the government intent of fomenting Hindu-Muslim riots? Why did the police reach the spot an hour late? Why did the Guardian Minister [Mr. Fadnavis] of Akola not reach there on time? Why was there no attempt on part of the government to effect a compromise when violence had broken out between two communities,” said Mr. Patole, adding he would be visiting Akola soon.

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