Advertisement

HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

ASI worried about copycat digs, asks CM for help

Haidar Naqvi and Gulam Jeelani, Hindustan Times  Kanpur, October 23, 2013
First Published: 00:05 IST(23/10/2013) | Last Updated: 12:15 IST(23/10/2013)

The hunt for gold by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in Unnao has resulted in at least 10 copycat excavations by gold diggers in the past week. The amateurs have damaged sites of historical and religious importance in the bargain, leading to resentment among locals. This has forced the ASI to write to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav asking for security at these sites.

Advertisement

The ASI, which preserves heritage sites, has no security force of its own and depends on state machinery for its needs. An ASI official, who did not want to be named, confirmed that a letter had indeed been sent to the CM. “This frenzy is a threat to historical sites. We are worried.”

Since the ASI started digging for gold at the Buxar fort in Unnao on October 18 following a tip-off by a seer, many incidents of digging for gold have been reported in neighbouring areas.

In Bahraich, unknown persons dug up a courtyard in the Charda fort, ostensibly looking for gold. Gold diggers also struck a sixth century temple in Udaipur village of Bhitargaon tehsil and vandalised a platform, which is believed to be the resting place of a seer.

Digging by amateurs in Adampur village of Fatehpur district has been going on for a week despite heavy deployment of police in the area. Incidents of digging were reported near a Shiv temple and Shiv chabutara in the village.

Similarly, unidentified persons dug up a place around an old well near Garima village, a site of historical importance in Fatehpur district, and damaged an idol.

An ancient Shiv temple in Pipahari village of Banda district was also dug up and the Shivling partially damaged.

Reports from Mahoba district said locals chased away people who were digging near the Charkhari fort.

SP Singh, who heads the history department in Kanpur’s Christ Church College, feared the frenzy for gold may grow. “People may just bring down houses for gold,” he said. He said he was apprehensive especially because people in rural areas, who tend to repose faith in tantriks and babas, may be encouraged to dig at their behest. "We have a situation where people will be quick to dig a place if a baba says it has gold,” he added.

In its letter, the ASI has advised the government to involve village panchayats and gram sabhas in securing sites of historical and religious importance. “Local involvement is a must to ensure there is no further damage to sites or relics,” the ASI official said.


Advertisement
more from India

If not now, then when: It is time to review our moral reservations against euthanasia

With the government's decision to scrap Section 309 of the IPC and decriminalise attempt to suicide, perhaps it is time to review our ethical reservations against mercy killings, even though, legal experts fear misuse.
Advertisement
Most Popular
Advertisement
Advertisement
Copyright © 2014 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved