The Uttar Pradesh Government has disclosed its intention to utilise devotees’ contributions for constructing a corridor at Vrindavan’s Banke Bihari temple, as revealed in a statement to the Allahabad High Court. The government, however, assures non-interference in the temple’s administration, which rests with the priest’s family.
This announcement transpired during a hearing before Chief Justice Pritinkar Diwakar and Justice Ashutosh Srivastava in response to a PIL filed by Anand Sharma and another individual from Mathura, seeking an inquiry into a stampede at the temple in August of the previous year.
The court has set the next hearing for October 30, 2023. During the proceedings, the Goswami family opposed the government’s proposal to use devotees’ contributions for the corridor. The government’s counsel assured the court that there would be no interference in the Banke Bihari temple’s management, handled by the priest’s family.
The court is yet to make a decision on the impleadment application submitted by the Goswami family. In a tragic incident last year during Janmashtami celebrations, a stampede at the Banke Bihari temple resulted in two deaths and injuries to seven devotees.
Subsequently, the state government proposed acquiring five acres of land adjacent to the temple to facilitate pilgrims, a plan initially opposed by the Goswami family. The court sought clarification on the government’s role in managing pilgrims, leading to the family’s impleadment application asserting the temple’s private nature and opposing government intervention.