Mumbai, Oct 30 (IANS) — Although these include shrines of all faiths, Muslim shrines are not being touched during the holy month of Ramadan.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has so far demolished 87 illegal shrines in the city this week. Civic officials said about 40 structures had been demolished Wednesday alone.
The civic body has set a target of demolishing at least 100 illegal shrines that were encroaching on public property by November 12, when it has to submit an action-taken report on the matter to the Bombay High Court.
The demolitions are being conducted by individual ward officers and the figures are compiled everyday at the BMC headquarters. Officials said all the structures were encroachments on public property after 1964. Structures existing prior to that would not be demolished, an official said.
Most of the structures were roadside temples as the authorities have decided to defer knocking down mosques until after the holy month of Ramadan.
Though it is a potentially explosive issue in the communally surcharged city, civic officials said they had so far persuaded owners and trustees of the structures to allow the demolition to go off peacefully.
“In all these places, trustees and owners of the structures removed idols and other items of religious importance,” an official said.
In some cases, idols recovered from the demolished structures would be immersed in the sea or installed elsewhere.
Members of the Christian community have obtained a stay order from the court against demolishing crosses in various parts of the city. Many of the crosses were left untouched when the private land around them were acquired for widening roads, said community members.
Some elected representatives in the civic body have also opposed the move and threatened to approach the Supreme Court on the issue.
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