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Rajasthan officials to be held accountable for breaking Govardhan Shilas

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Mathura, 2018.03.20

Rajasthan officials have been summoned to appear in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for breaking Govardhan Shilas (stones) with heavy construction equipment.

The Giriraj Parikrama Surakshan Sangathan (Giriraj Parikrama Conservation Organization) filed a petition in protest of damage done to Govardhan when government workers placed a signboard on the inner Parikrama Marg welcoming tourists to Rajasthan.

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In the ancient Hindu scripture Shrimad Bhagavatam, Shri Krishna declares that the Govardhan Hill is another form of himself. Krishna himself organized the first Govardhan Puja. Now Hindus all over the world worship Govardhan Hill and its stones, especially during the Annakut festival, on the day after Diwali.

Showing complete ignorance of the religious significance of Govardhan Shilas, and a flagrant disregard for Hinduism itself, the contractors hired by the Government used a bulldozer to break Govardhan Shilas when digging the pits for the signboard posts.

Govardhan resident Prakash Shukla said, “Breaking Govardhan Shilas is like smashing the deity of Banke Bihari (Shri Krishna). The men responsible for this are no better than Aurangzeb. Is it a lack of education, or are they demons disguised as Hindus? They should pray to Thakurji (Krishna) and ask for forgiveness. The government must punish them to the fullest extent of the law, and make sure such a thing never, ever happens again.”

The Giriraj Parikrama Protection Organization’s chairman, Anand Gopal Das, filed the petition on Tuesday and, after hearing the plea, the NGT has summoned the District Collector of Bharatpur, Executive Engineer Sanivi, the assistant engineer, Forest Department officials and the Contractor involved.

GovardhanParikrama is 21 kilometers in length. Approximately 1.2 km of the Parikrama falls in the state of Rajasthan. This area is known as “Punchari” – the “tail” of Govardhan. This area is sparsely populated and is traditionally the home of many great and renounced saints who live in small huts or caves doing intense spiritual practice.

On one side of Govardhan is Jatipura with many temples commemorating the festivals of Govardhan Puja and Annakut. On the other side of the hill is the village of Anyor which literary means “bring more” – a reference to how the sacred hill accepted the offerings of the Brajwasis. A little further down is the village of Punchari which marks the extreme edge or the tail of the hill as denoted by its name which means ‘the tail’.

The incident comes in the midst of an intense anti-encroachment drive in Govardhan, aimed at protecting the land that rightfully belongs to the reserved area around this sacred site. Many Brajwasis’ homes have been bulldozed to the ground in the name of preserving Govardhan’s sanctity, making the Rajasthan government’s actions all the more shocking.

The Giriraj Parikrama Conservation Organization has been active in campaigning for the protection of Govardhan for many years. In 2015, the organization filed a petition to have trees planted along the Parikrama Marg to replace those which were cut down in order to widen the road. The organization was also involved in the campaign to create the no-construction zone, which outlaws all construction within 100 metres of Govardhan.

 

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