Himachal: Contempt notice to DC, SP Bilaspur on anti-Dalit banner

The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday issued contempt of court notice to Deputy Commissioner of Bilaspur Ajay Sharma, Superintendent of Police Kapil Sharma, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) M L Mehta and Chairman of the Management Committee of Markandeya Temple for their failure to ensure compliance of the court orders in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Kuldip Singh passed the orders on a contempt petition taken up by the court suo moto on a letter written by S R Harnot, a writer and president of Himalaya Sahitya, Sanskriti avam Paryavaran Manch, Shimla.

Harnote,who recently retired from HPTDC and has written several books on life, traditions and culture in Himachal Pradesh villages, had written a letter to the Chief Justice complaining about a notice board put up at Sanyasi temple above Markandeya Temple, Bilaspur, which barred Dalits from entering the temple.

The High Court had taken cognizance of the letter and some news reports, beside some pictures posted on social-media, relating to the notice displayed outside the temple and treated the same as PIL.

The DC and SP of Bilaspur and the Chairman of the temple management committee were directed to ensure that no such board was displayed in the precincts of the temple. The board was removed immediately and a case was also registered against accused Baba Kewal Puri in this regard, but the board came up once again.

It is alleged that Baba Kewal Puri has been frequently putting up the same board despite court orders to the contrary.

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