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In a video that has gone viral, two men can be seen pushing and destroying erect pillars at the UNESCO World Heritage site Hampi. The video, which appears to be a recording of an Instagram story, went viral after it was posted by one Ayush Sahu.
The video made several people furious and they took to the streets asking the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take strict action and better care of heritage sites, reported The News Minute.
It had been declared by the New York Times some weeks ago that in the list of top 52 tourist destinations in 2019, Hampi happens to take the second position in the world.
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“The ruins are located behind the Lotus Mahal. It is the remnants of a Vishnu Temple. We inspected the spot today (Saturday) and the pillars were on the ground,” the Hampi Police said.
However, filing a complaint with the Hampi Police and demanding quick and strict action, ASI had to say that this video had been shot a year ago.
According to the Hampi Police, ASI said that this video is a year old, but there are locals who are claiming that they had seen the pillars fine and erect just three days before the video went viral. An FIR is in the process of being registered against the miscreants by the police, and an investigation into the matter will be launched soon.
A protest was staged by the Vijayanagara Smaraka Samskrithi Samrakshana Sene (VSSS), demanding protection of the monuments. According to Vishwanath Malagi, convenor of VSSS, a few years ago, pillars at Achyutha Raya Bazaar had been damaged by someone, and nobody seems to care about the protection of these structures, not even the ASI. The ASI itself is responsible for damaging the Virupaksha Bazaar pillars.
Viswanath further accused ASI of escaping the charges of negligence by claiming that the video is old. “There is the State Archaeology Department, Archaeological Survey of India and Hampi World Heritage Management Authority. All of them are just cooling their heels. No one is bothered about the monuments,” he said.
He questioned that if the ASI indeed knew that this was an old video, why did they not file a complaint earlier? A special DySP is needed to keep a track on people who are damaging the monuments.
Destroying and vandalising heritage sites is one of the worst forms of crime, and they should be addressed more strictly. As Vishwanath said, crimes like these cannot be treated as a mere traffic violation which can be solved with a small warning.
India is a beautiful country with varied languages, cultures and wonderful heritage sites. These structures not only boost tourism but also enhance the beauty of the country as a whole. It is not uncommon to come across random scribbling on the walls and pillars of heritage sites. Historical structures like the Taj Mahal has even lost its dazzling white colour.
As responsible citizens of the country, it is our duty to value these heritage sites and ensure that they are properly protected.
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