31 yrs after tragedy, Qutub Minar’s doors remain shut

The 72.5-metre-tall Qutub Minar has seen several tragedies. But the one that took place 31 years ago still haunts the residents of the area; Nivedita Khandekar reports.
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Updated on Dec 04, 2012 03:00 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By Nivedita Khandekar, New Delhi

Ever wanted to climb up the Qutub Minar as a child, only to be told by your parents that it was forbidden? The 72.5-metre-tall Qutub Minar has seen several tragedies. But the one that took place 31 years ago still haunts the residents of the area.

On December 4, 1981, 45 lives were snuffed out in a stampede in the 12th century tower. Since then, the tower has been closed for all visitors, even for the Hindi film industry.

Attempts have been made to get it reopened but to no avail. "How Qutub Minar looks from the inside will always remain a mystery for my generation. Why can’t they open it again?" said a 20-year-old Ritwika Chatterjee.

But the ASI, it seems, is in no mood to open it for tourists as yet. “There are a lot of issues involved. The Qutub Minar was closed for the public after a government order. And there has been no further order to reopen it. Safety issues too abound as many people committed suicide by jumping off the high tower,” said BR Mani, ASI’s joint director general and national spokesperson.

Virender Singh, a resident of Mukherjee Nagar, said “If someone is hell bent on dying, no one can stop him. They have started putting iron grilles in the Metro now. But if someone wants to commit suicide, he has several other options apart from jumping off high-rises.”

But there have been instances when the huge doors of the stone column were opened. “Researchers can get special permission from the government of India to enter the minar, but not the general tourists,” Mani said.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021