No worship in protected monument: ASI gives big statement on Qutub Minar row

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New Delhi: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Tuesday, May 24, submitted its reply on the Qutub Minar case to the Saket Court, where it has opposed a plea to revive the Temple at the site.

It said that Qutub Minar is a protected monument since 1914 and its structure cannot be changed now. 

The ASI said, “Revival of worship in a memorial cannot be allowed. Even when this monument was protected, worship was not held here.”

Dharamvir Sharma, former regional director of ASI, had claimed that the Qutub Minar was built by King Vikramaditya (and not by Qutb al-Din Aibak) to study the direction of the Sun.

The Culture Ministry had also asked the ASI to submit its excavation report. Excavation can be started at a distance of 15 meters from the mosque to the south of the minaret. The decision was taken by the Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Govind Mohan during a site visit with officials on Saturday, May 21.

The ASI said that the petition of the Hindu petitioners is not legally maintainable. It said, “Demolition of old temples to build the Qutub Minar complex is a historical fact. The Qutub Minar complex is a living monument, which has been preserved since 1914. No one has the right to worship in the complex.”

The ASI told the court, “We cannot change the character of the protected area, as there was no practice of worship at the time of conservation of the monument. We cannot allow worship now.”

Earlier this month, activists of Mahakal Manav Seva and other right-wing organizations were seen protesting, holding banners and raising slogans amid heavy police deployment at Qutub Minar, which is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site .

first published:May 24, 2022, 12:46 p.m.

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