Saturday, July 15, 2023

Local Temple within the World Vipassana Pagoda razed by Trustee for commercial expansion

Local Temple within the World Vipassana Pagoda razed by Trustee for commercial expansion | Local Villagers & Devotees upset over the demolition of ancient temple of worship | File an FIR at Gorai Police Station

~ An ancient sacred peepal tree was also cut down, as physically the cut tree material is spread in that area.

~ The building plan submitted to the BMC authorities doesn’t mention the temple of worship by the locals.

~ Local villagers from near and far who worshipped at the temple come together to file an FIR


MUMBAI : The World Vipassana Pagoda was built on a land donated for setting up the Pagoda back in 2009 which is situated in Gorai village of Mumbai City. It was clearly stated that they would not demolish any old structure especially a temple of worship which has been in existence on the land for centuries and worshipped by villagers near and far. Inspite of this assurance, the 'Swayambhu Jagartu Devasthanam Shri Vangna Devi Temple' was demolished by the World Vipassana Pagoda Sanstha on May 14, 2023. The trustees of the institute also felled a sacred peepal tree near the temple. A FIR has been filed at the Gorai Police station on May 18, 2023. *FIR Copy attached.

"This temple was built a few centuries ago and thousands of devotees regularly worship it. However, inspite of assuring they would maintain the temple, the trustees went ahead and demolished the temple along with the holy peepal tree. They have submitted a building plan to the BMC which does not mention the temple. This heinous act has definitely hurt the sentiments of the devotees" says Harish Sutar a complainant in this case.  

“In 2019, the trustees had made their first attempt to break down the temple, however, due to the local intervention, they had withdrawn with an assurance that they will never do so under any circumstance. The demolition of Shri Vangna Devi Temple has created faith-shattering atmosphere all over the minds of its worshippers. Mr Nayan Shah and the other trustee members of the Pagoda management have maintained a stoic silence on this issue. All this while, villagers and devotees have been protesting outside the pagoda demanding restoration of Shri Vangna Devi Temple ” said Vijaya Fernandes.

It’s been so long since the FIR has been filed yet the trustees fail to respond to the constant appeals. Mr Bapu Shirsat of Sambhaji Sena formally approached Tahsildar, Police department at DCP & ACP offices to get the culprits booked and to get the revered temple reinstated immediately.

With frustration levels pushed to the hilt, the villagers and devotees are contemplating coming together in large number to host a dharna to plead to the Mumbai administration to assist in respectfully reinstating the temple and allow its worshippers to do their rituals of puja. If the pagoda trustees and government administration remain unaffected of people coming on the road for this righteous cause, it would be a huge shame.

To date, the trustees at the Pagoda have remained unresponsive to any appeals, wonder why the silence.

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