The Uttar Pradesh government has announced that religious structures, irrespective of the faith they belong to, built on public roads after January 1, 2011, will be removed within six months in accordance with the Allahabad High Court’s orders.
“Directions have been given to not give permission to build religious structures on public roads, including highways, streets, pathways and lanes and if any such structure is there that was built after January 1, 2011, then it will be removed. A report regarding action taken under this will be submitted by DMs to concerned officials in the state government officials within two months,” the home department said in a statement on Thursday.
According to the government, all zonal commissioners and police commissioners in Lucknow and Noida, and concerned Inspectors General, Deputy Inspectors General have been instructed on the matter. “The officials have been told to form a road map for the action to be taken under this and within six months, religious structures should be moved to another place or they will be demolished,” read the statement.
The officials have been instructed to adhere to the guidelines and if they fail to do so, it will be considered contempt of court. “If there is any laxity with regard to this, concerned officials will be personally responsible,” said the home department.
The government has told officials to ensure that religious activities do not hinder the traffic and public movement on highways, roads, lanes, and footpaths.
In June 2016, the Allahabad High Court had directed the state government to remove or shift religious structures “in any form” that encroach on public roads, including sideways. The court also told the state to ensure that no religious structure in any form is allowed or permitted to be raised on public roads, including highways, streets, pathways and lanes. The court warned that any violation would be considered criminal contempt by administration and police officials.