A huge controversy erupted when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appointed Firhad Hakim as the chairman of the Tarakeshwar Development Board.
The board, which got a grant of Rs.5 crore from the state government, is entrusted to take care of the Tarakeshwar temple and development of the adjoining areas.
Hakim, the Urban Development minister in the Mamata cabinet, was in the news in April 2016 for describing the Muslim-dominated Garden Reach locality in Kolkata as “mini-Pakistan” to a correspondent of Pakistani daily Dawn. The minister is also one of those hit by the Narada sting.
Yet this highly controversial minister was appointed by Mamata for a trust which is expected to take care of a very important temple.
The decision had not gone down well with many in India. Questions continue to be raised on the controversial choice of Firhad Hakim, a controversial non-Hindu minister, as the head of a board for upkeep of a Hindu temple.
One of those who vociferously spoke against the decision was BJP MP Subramanian Swamy. In fact, he was the only prominent leader to declare that he’d take up the matter in a legal manner:
I have already set up my legal eagle team for Bengal to challenge Mamata’s horrible temple appointment. Writ Petition will be filed
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) June 19, 2017
Today, Swamy took the first step against the controversial decision:
Tarakeshwar Temple first step pic.twitter.com/6sIUkQPQkx
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) July 6, 2017
In his letter addressed to the West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, Swamy calls Hakim “anti-Hindu” and “Islamist”.
He directs the attention of the Governor to the unconstitutionality of the decision taken by the West Bengal CM.
“While this is the decision of the West Bengal cabinet, nevertheless, the Urban Development Board is expected to undertake projects including that which fall within the area of Tarakeshwar temple, which is religious denomination within the meaning of Article 26 of the Constitution. Hence it is illegal and unconstitutional and flouts the principles as laid down by the Supreme Court in Subramanian Swamy vs The State of Tamil Nadu which is reported judgment in SCC 2014.”
He points out that he wants Banerjee to put the temple outside the ambit of the Cabinet decision. He concludes that in case his request is not met based on this constitutional method, he would be forced to approach the court for the sake of the “sanctity of Hindu religious institutions which now is under siege”.
The Tarakeshwar Temple is one of the holiest Shiva temples of India. Visited by tens of thousands of Hindu devotees every year, Taraknath, the presiding deity of the Tarakeshwar temple, is considered by many – and by all Hindu Bengalis – as a jyotirlinga.
Her supporters, the Liberal-Secular brigade and the anti-BJP fellows argue that Hakim has been made the chairman of the Tarkeshwar Development Board and not the temple. The problem with this argument is that it fails to take note of the fact that even mosques in the country are managed by boards, which are headed by Muslims.
Banerjee has been criticized for her excessive ‘secular’ (read appeasement) form of governance. Communal violence have been on the rise in the state. Hindus, their houses and businesses, have been targeted by mobs of Islamists who have no fear of the law and are audacious enough to threaten the Chief Minister herself.
The CM has also been criticized for not letting the West Bengal police act on time to control violent mobs. Dhulagarh, Malda, Uluberia and, now, Basirhat are some of the examples of how gangs of Islamists are increasingly becoming a major threat to the peace of the state and the security of the country.
In Basirhat, an Islamist mob went on a violence-filled rampage after an offensive Facebook post was uploaded by a minor. The boy was arrested yet the mob continued with their violence burning vehicles and shops of Hindus as the police and the administration watched helplessly.
But instead of taking stock of the situation and slamming the rioters, Mamata Banerjee accused the Governor of “threatening” her over the issue.
Most of these Islamists are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, who have infiltrated the country and taken shelter in adjoining states over the years. Instead of addressing this security risk, Mamata had in 2016 expressed her desire to issue citizenship certificates to Bangladeshis who are living in India for the last 5 years or more – in other worlds, illegal immigrants.