The differences between sants of Sanatan Dharma and Swaminarayan sect over murals of Lord Hanuman at Salangpur Hanuman Temple in Gujarat appear to have been resolved for the time being with the temple authorities assuring that the murals will be removed by Tuesday.
The temple, located in Botad district, is managed by Swaminarayan sect.
For more than ten days, sants of Sanatan Dharma have been protesting against the depiction of Lord Hanuman at the feet of Lord Swaminarayan. The sants have been also calling for a boycott of their counterparts of the Swaminarayan sect.
The mural is on the pedestal of a giant statue of Lord Hanuman. The statue was inaugurated by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in April.
A few pictures of the mural, taken by a youth went viral, leading to a controversy.
Three persons were also arrested for damaging the contentious mural.
On Monday, at a meeting held in Shivanand Ashram in Ahmedabad, the authorities of the Salangpur Temple promised to remove the contentious murals. The meeting was attended by sants of Vadtal Swaminarayan Temple, sants of Sanatan Dharma and key functionaries of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Another meeting to sort out the alleged distortion of facts in the scriptures of Swaminarayan sect will be held at a later date.
A five-point resolution was passed which also included a point that mentioned that top sants of Vadtal Swaminarayan Sect and Sanatan Hindu Dharma exhorted sants of the Swaminarayan sect to watch their language.
What appeared to be a religious controversy could have assumed political overtones. A large chunk of the BJP’s vote bank are supporters of the Swaminarayan sect and the Sanatan Hindu dharma. The saffron party cannot afford to antagonise them.
BJP’s Ram Madhav had to come to Salangpur on Sunday and hold meetings with the sants over the differences.
On Monday before the sants and VHP members met at the Shivanand Ashram, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel had a meeting with the sants.
The grapevine is that the Salangpur issue was one of the issues discussed when Patel called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi two days ago.