An ancient Hindu temple in a village in the Songarh taluka of the Tapi district in Gujarat was demolished and a Church named Mariam Mata’s Temple was built by local Christians at that place. On Saturday, 2nd October 2022, some Hindus reached the place and tried to offer prayers but they were prohibited by Christians who reached there at that time.
In the Nana Bandarpada village of the Songarh taluka in the Tapi district of Gujarat, there was a temple of Gidhmadi Aya Dungar Mata where local Hindus used to offer regular prayers. The temple was situated on the hilltop. But over time, due to the rapidly growing Christian population in the area, the movement of people on this hill gradually decreased and after that, the Christian missionaries demolished the temple and established their place of worship in this place and called it Mariam Mata’s Temple.
As the festival of Navaratri is going on, the Hindus reached their ancient holy place to worship. At that time, a crowd of Christians also reached there and created a ruckus and the Hindus were not allowed to go to the hill. A police convoy also reached the spot following this ruckus.
The Christian mob carried sticks and stones; the Hindu priest was also slapped
Speaking to OpIndia, local Hindu leader Dineshbhai Gamit said, “We had come to worship as the festival of Mataji was going on, but the local Christians did not allow us to go upstairs and quarrelled saying that you have no place above.” He also said that the Christians had prepared themselves with a large number of sticks, stones, etc.
He further said that during the clash, the Hindu priest who had come for worship was also slapped. Meanwhile, attempts were also made to damage the food plate prepared for offering to the deity. However, the police then reached the spot and controlled the situation.
The village is 98 percent Christian
According to the local Hindus, they had been worshipping at this place for hundreds of years. But due to the increasing conversions in the last few years, Hindus in most of the area around this place had become Christians, due to which the movement on this hill was reduced.
Speaking to OpIndia, a local said that around 98 percent of the people in the village have become Christians and Hindus have been reduced to a minority. Because of this, they could not raise their voice. He also said that for years, posts like sarpanch, etc. in the village have also been dominated by the Christian community.
The resolution was passed to renovate the Hindu temple, but a Church was built
In 2019, the Bandarpada gram panchayat of Songarh taluka in the Tapi district passed a unanimous resolution stating that the temple of ‘Gidhamadi Aya Dungar Mataji’ had been worshiped for many years and there was a need for a renovation around it due to high movement of devotees. There was no mention of a Christian church or any other place of worship.
Local Hindus have alleged that the panchayat passed a resolution in the name of the temple of Gidhamadi Mataji, received the grant, and used it to build a Christian place. The temple of the goddess was demolished and its broken remains were also found.
Outraged Hindus demand the restoration of the temple
Hindu organizations have appealed for the restoration of their place and demanded that the deity be restored. Hindu leaders said they would continue the fight and submit an application to the collector in the coming days.