An order issued by the Department of Culture of Madhya Pradesh government regarding the removal of Muslim employees associated with the Maa Sharda Temple in Maihar in Satna district has become the talking point in the state.
The department has issued a letter to Satna district administration to comply with the directive issued earlier regarding removal of Muslim employees from the Maa Sharda Devi Prabandh Samiti. The directive was issued on April 5, but it came to the fore after it surfaced on social media on Tuesday.
The development came when the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are just six months away. IANS has learnt that there are at least two Muslims who are associated with the Maa Sharda Devi Prabandh Samiti since 1988.
The Department of Culture in its order has also mentioned that a notification regarding the same had been issued earlier also, but no response was received. Therefore, complying with the directive (letter) issued by the department regarding the same, a report should be submitted within three days.
The department is headed by senior BJP leader Usha Thakur, who is also the Tourism Minister in Shivraj Singh Chouhan's Cabinet.
The department has also said that all meat and liquor shops located near the temple area will be removed.
The step has been taken following the recommendation of right wing groups, including the Vishva Hindu Parishad. The right wing outfits of Satna district had handed over a letter to Usha Thakur in January this year, following which the Satna district administration was directed to remove Muslim staff associated with the Maa Sharda Devi Prabandh Samiti. The fresh letter has been issued to comply with directive issued by the minister in January.
"We have received a letter regarding the matter and now it would be brought before the Prabandhan Samiti of the temple for discussion. Whatever the committee decides will be the final decision," a member of the Maa Sharda Devi Prabandh Samiti told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Situated atop Trikut hill, the temple is a reverred Hindu srine in the Vindhya region, which has numerous mythological stories attatched to it, including about 'Alha' and 'Udal'. The devotees climb 1,063 stairs to reach the temple, while a ropeway facility has also been established now for the convenience of the pilgrims.
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