Keep an eye

The Gauhati high court has passed a direction to the government of Arunachal to file an affidavit on whether it is implementing the Supreme Court’s order of not allowing unauthorized construction in the name of temple, church, mosque, gurudwara, etc, on public places. The court has listed the matter for the next hearing on 3 March. The court has warned of strict action, including contempt, if wrong report is submitted. It will be interesting to see how the state government responds to the court order. There are several temples and churches on public spaces in the state.
In state capital Itanagar itself there are several temples along the national highway. Especially in the Ganga market area of Itanagar, a huge temple constructed near the highway has been obstructing the road but the authorities have never bothered to try to shift it to another location. This is just an example, and there are several religious structures in the state which have been constructed on government land, which is basically public property. Despite the Supreme Court’s clear standing order that the authorities have to act against all such properties, the state government has never ever taken any initiative to shift out the religious structures, be it a temple or a church. The government should make sure that the SC order is properly implemented in the state. The NGOs and civil society bodies should also keep an eye on whether the government is sending correct information to the high court. If they find any discrepancies, they should inform the high court, so that strong action can be taken against the government.