Thursday, June 6, 2019

Restoring Hindu Heritage Sites is a Crime in India

Kind Attention: Lawyers and Concerned Citizens  

In May 2018 Hon’ble Member NGT Mr. Raghuvendra Singh Rathore passed several harsh orders against our organisation, The BrajFoundation

Our crime is that we have been restoring and maintaining ancient water bodies, forests and heritage buildings in Mathura, including Rudra Kund & Sankarshan Kund, located on Goverdhan Parikrama.

He did so despite the fact that entire village community in writing had given their appreciation to NGT for our efforts of converting heaps of garbage, which these ancient Kunds were for decades, into world class pilgrim destinations, while they were ignored by local Admn. for decades. 

Mr. Rathore humiliated us in the court, despite the fact that The Braj Foundation has won 6 UNESCO backed ‘Best Water NGO of India’ Awards for restoring Ancient Water Bodies in Mathura, PM Mr. Narendra Modi, several Union Cabinet Ministers, CMs, CEO Niti Aayog, millions of pilgrims, prominent Saints & media praise The Braj Foundation for its selfless restoration works in Mathura. This work is being done for the past 17 years. Fortunately, Hon’ble SC next day granted stay against the NGT order else other sites restored by us would have also fallen prey to such order.

Mr. Rathore not only did this but also humiliated us by calling 'land grabbers,' while two DMs of Mathura had already given affidavits in the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court stating that The Braj Foundation only restores these water bodies while the ownership always remains under village common. Mr. Rathore also passed several other damaging verbal orders against us and instructed DM Mathura to paint the names of donors like Mr. Ajay Piramal, Mr. Rahul Bajaj & Dr. Rameshwar Rao etc and that of The Braj Foundation, on the stone plaques installed at the sites after the restoration. Have you ever seen such an attack except by the barbaric invaders, who destroy the culture of defeated countries?

Mr. Rathore passed all such orders by ignoring the facts available on case file & all legal arguments presented therein and instructed Mathura Admn. to deprive us from maintaining these sites. As a result within one year these sites have returned to very pitiable conditions. Thousands of trees, planted by us, have died due to no irrigation, 34ft. tall beautiful black granite deity carved in Tirupati Balaji and installed by HH Chinna Jeeyar Swami ji at Sankarshan Kund is collecting dust in the absence of regular Sewa Puja which earlier  we were doing.

Everyone who visits these Kunds on Goverdhan Parikrama, literally sheds tears looking at the damage Mr. Rathore’s orders have done. 

Condition of the trees at Sankarshan Kund
Interestingly Mr. Rathore is doing all this on a PIL field by a fake Anand Baba, who is accused of selling forest lands in Bharatpur (Raj)  and facing criminal charges. The other petitioner  is a  CA, both are agents of a well-known scam master of Jaipur, Anoop Bartaria, who is also facing several criminal charges under CBI & DRI.

It is also very disturbing that on one side Mr. Rathore is humiliating and punishing The Braj Foundation, which has done unprecedented work of restoring Environmental & Cultural heritage in Mathura, while on the other side he is regularly passing orders to construct circular roads on Goverdhan Parikrama, take over management of temples, create shrine boards etc. Is this the mandate of NGT to interfere in civil administration and worry about temple management etc?
Condition of the water at Sankarshan Kund now

We are waiting for the Hon’ble SC to hear our pending matter but meanwhile I am requesting all of you to generate a debate in legal fraternity or amongst your fraternity about this draconian style of functioning of NGT. You know that right from the 'Jain Hawala Case'(1993) till now I have always fought for public causes and have never chased political or monetary rewards for my dangerous and long drawn crusades. That is why legal illuminates like Mr. L M Singhvi, Mr. Ashok Desai, Mr. Anil Divan, Mr. KK Venugopal, Mr. Ram Jethmalani, Mr. Fali Nariman, Mr. Shanti Bhushan, Mr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi and so many others have always stood for me in the SC, without ever charging a penny from me. I am grateful to all of them.

Condition of Rudra Kund now
This issue of Mathura is bigger than all others I fought during past three decades, because it questions the very fundamentals of our approach to development. While we know that govt. money is siphoned off before it reaches at the implementation level, here is an NGO which has done tremendous developmental work, without taking a penny from the govt., yet it is being attacked by NGT. The spirit of young IITians, MBAs & Architects etc. who voluntarily contribute to this cause with us is being hampered by such negative attitude of NGT, which is otherwise supposed to be concerned about Environment and not Temple Management? I beg you to respond to our humble plea and take up this matter with Hon’ble Judges of SC, even in your private conversations and in formal professional discussions?

Let the spirit to serve our motherland not die !

Yours truly
Sr. Journalist,New Delhi
Chairman, The Braj Foundation, Vrindavan.

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