Karnataka: Men Who Destroyed Pillars At Hampi Asked To Pay Rs 70,000 Each, Re-Erect Pillars
Remember a video that went viral, two men can be seen pushing and destroying erect pillars at the UNESCO World Heritage site Hampi. The video, which appeared to be a recording of an Instagram story, went viral after it was posted by one Ayush Sahu. After the video was posted, police sprung into action and were determined to take action against the cowardly act.
The four men, who were seen on the video destroying the pillars were arrested by the police. According to reports, Judge Poornima Yadav of the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Court in Hosapete ordered the youth to pay Rs 70,000 each as penalty and also ordered them to help in the re-erecting of the pillars, reported The News Minute. They were released after they paid a total of Rs 2.8 lakhs in fine and also helped the authorities re-erect the pillar. They also had to assure the court that they would not do any such acts of vandalising again.
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.
— Thyagaraj (@Thyagaa) February 1, 2019
“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.
Is the video really old?
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.
The Logical Indian take
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.