Curfew Mata Mandir shuts its gates, but hears prayers - Govt.in - Telling the truth- always!
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Curfew Mata Mandir shuts its gates, but hears prayers

BHOPAL: In times of corona curfew, Bhopal’s “Curfew Wali Mata Mandir” continues to provide succour though its gates stay locked. People stop by for a few seconds, keeping one eye open for the cops posted in the vicinity, murmur a prayer and hurry on.
The idol of “Curfew Mata” was established 38 years ago in Peer Gate area during a month-long curfew following riots, hence the name. It was open even during the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, but is now shut for the first time in memory, reports Amarjeet Singh.
The temple is locked but there’s no stopping the devout. On Sunday, the usual crowd of devotees was replaced by half a dozen policemen, tasked with enforcing curfew in letter and spirit — and with a stick, if need be.
People drove or pedalled by, closing eyes in reverence and sending up a silent prayer, before hurrying on lest the cops begin “enforcing”. But here, the cops are lenient, too. Who would stop a prayer in these times?
Those who paused a while longer got a gentle reminder from police to “leave it to Mata and move on”.
“It’s part of my daily routine to pray at the temple, so I continue doing it. The temple is closed to visitors, and we know it’s good this way, seeing the coronavirus crisis, but something draws me here. I don’t get peace of mind until I see the temple and pay my respects. I’m thankful that I can do this, no matter how briefly,” said devotee Vishal Namdeo, nodding in gratefulness to the cops.
One of the policemen deployed there said there is a steady trickle of devotees, but they all pray for a few seconds and move on. “They come here as if the very sight of the temple reassures them,” he said, adding that only the priest goes inside every morning and evening through a backdoor for the rituals these days.
The temple was established during trying times in the city. Ramesh Saini, 73, president of the 13-member committee that runs the temple, recalls the day it was set up.
“I was around 35 years old when the temple was built in 1982. It was during Navratri that year that an idol of Goddess Durga was established and immersed after nine days. But locals established an idol there and the administration took it away, leading to a dispute. A curfew was imposed but soon people from nearby districts started flocking to the temple though there were arrests every day,” said Saini.
His father Babulal Mali, a Congress functionary, was among the founding members of the temple, Saini said.
“Arjun Singh was the chief minister then, and Vijay Singh the Bhopal collector. Seeing the public sentiment, the administration asked us to establish the idol during the curfew. A puja was done at 5am and the idol was established. This gave the temple its name,” said Saini.
The temple has never seen such a time, he said, not even during the Bhopal gas tragedy. “There was no curfew after the tragedy, but the roads were deserted for a long time. We still kept the temple open for entire nights so that anyone who needed help could come to us,” he said.
In the past 38 years, curfew was imposed once or twice but the temple never had to shut. “These are extraordinary times, and require extraordinary measures. On March 28, the administration ordered us to shut the temple completely,” said Saini.
“The goddess is watching over us. This is a trying time. It, too, will pass with Mata’s grace,” he said.

    • Source
    • TOI

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