Punjab archaeology department officials had to return empty-handed as the Tarn Taran villagers refused to part with the 7th-century idol of Lord Vishnu found from a field recently.
Department officials said they would take the police help to lay hands on the idol.
While levelling his field at Algon Kothi village in Bhikhiwind town of Tarn Taran district on February 14, a farmer had found the idol, about 4 ft in height and weighing around four quintals.
The idol apparently dates back to seventh or eighth century.
The police had handed it over to a local temple. According to archaeology officials, the idol is extremely important from historical point of view as it has been carved out of red stone with Lord Vishnu in the centre and Brahma and Mahesh on the sides.
According to sources in the state government, following the news about the idol, the officials of state department of cultural affairs, museums, archives and archaeology reached Tarn Taran to take possession of the idol, under the Punjab Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, on February 24.
The idol was placed at Mata Sunita Devi temple at Dall village near the Indo-Pak border at Patti.
Though the officials were allowed to have a glimpse of it, they were refused its possession by a group of people led by Khem Karan SAD MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha. Valtoha also gave them in writing that the idol shouldn’t be removed from the temple.
Valtoha accepted that he had asked the archaeology officials not to take away the idol. He said he had intervened as it involved religious sentiments.
However, Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa of the state department of cultural affairs, museums, archives and archaeology, said the idol was extremely important from the historical point of view since it could throw new light on that period. “Since we have not been allowed the possession, we will go to any extent to get the idol,” Randhawa said. firstname.lastname@example.org