City office intervenes to reclaim Dui Maju landKathmandu Deputy Mayor Hari Prabha Khadgi padlocks the gate of sacred site to keep off illegal occupiers.
After continuous protests and lobbying by heritage conservationists and locals of Kathmandu, authorities are set to evict the illegal shopkeepers who have been occupying the land of Dui Maju shrine, which is located in the north-west part of Khulla Manch.
Kathmandu Deputy Mayor Hari Prabha Khadgi padlocked the gate of Dui Maju, barring over two dozen shopkeepers from entering the property on Friday.
A year ago, Guthi Sansthan had entrusted the property of Dui Maju, which is spread over an area of one ropani, to Amrita Bhattarai for five years. Bhattarai was supposed to take care of the property and keep its surroundings clean. But she leased the land to Marin Thakur International which in turn sublet the property to clothes vendors. The company has been making Rs 700,000 monthly from the leaseholders occupying the sacred site.
Dui Maju is associated with Taleju Bhawani, the patron deity of the Malla kings. It is also one of the most significant parts of Tundikhel.
Uddav Man Karmacharya has been offering prayers at Dui Maju for the last 24 years. The 62-year-old was among the cohort of people standing up against the occupation of the sacred ground.
“Dui Maju is the goddess of grain. After worshipping the Taleju Bhawani we have to offer prayers at Dui Maju as well to complete the ritual,” Karmacharya said. “It is a good thing that the site is being reclaimed. The Guthi Sansthan and the city office should now preserve it.
The Guthi Sansthan had sent a letter of contract termination to Bhattarai on September 23, following the protests by heritage conservationists and locals. Bhattarai, however, did not heed to the formal request.
The place was temporarily evicted by the city authorities back in April when 52 illegally-built structures were removed from the Khulla Manch area.
On Friday, a large number of security officials, activists and locals had gathered in the north-west part of Khulla Manch to protest the encroachment on Dui Maju.
“This is another achievement and is also a part of Occupy Tundikhel campaign. We will keep on raising voices against the encroachment of public spaces. We will pressurise the elected local authorities to be more accountable,” said Ganapati Lal Shrestha, one of the campaigners of Occupy Tundikhel.
After padlocking the gate of Dui Maju in the presence of Guthi Sansthan chief Sailendra Paudel and Kathmandu Ward No. 28 Chairman Bhai Ram Khagdi, Deputy Mayor Khadgi said that the city office would take charge of cleaning and protecting the area.