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Modi halts temple demolition drive after Singhal meets him

November 21, 2008 17:41 IST

Under pressure from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi [Images] on Friday put on hold the demolition drive against unauthorised temples in the state capital of Gandhinagar.

"The chief minister reviewed the demolition drive against unauthorised structures and has decided to put it on hold for the time being," sources in the chief minister's office said.

The decision comes after a meeting between VHP president Ashok Singhal and Modi earlier in the day. The VHP had demanded that the demolition drive against temple be immediately stopped.

In the meeting, the VHP leader had conveyed his displeasure over the issue of demolition of temples in the state capital and also over the arrest of VHP worker Ashwin Patel, secretary of VHP Ranchhod Bharwad had earlier told PTI.

On Thursday, after visiting the sites where temples were demolished, Singhal had criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party government, saying it was repeating the acts of Mahmood Ghazni, who had destroyed a number of temples in medieval Gujarat.

The state government authorities are on a demolition drive in Gandhinagar, and over the past one month more than 200 'illegal' temples have been razed.

The VHP is also up in arms against the ruling BJP over the arrest of its state joint secretary Ashwin Patel, who was booked on the eve of Diwali for sending defamatory SMSes against Modi.

Gandhinagar district collector Sanjiv Kumar said, "We would not be doing anything as of now."

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