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ASI Opposes Plea for Restoration of Alleged Temples Destructed to Construct Qutub Minar

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Shivani Thakur

Published on: May 24, 2022 at 20:34 IST

The Archaeological Survey of India has stated that the existing status of the monument cannot be altered, in response to an Appeal seeking restoration of 27 temples that were allegedly destructed to construct the Qutub Minar complex.

The Statutory Body has stated that since 1914, Qutub Minar monument is a protected monument under Section 3(3) of the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904 and it is being maintained ‘in-situ’ is the same condition.

As per ASI, there is no provision that worship can be started at any living monument and it will be contrary to the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR) Act, 1958.

Fundamental right cannot be availed in violation of any status of the land. The basic principle of protection /conservation is not to allow starting of any new practice in a monument declared and notified as a protected one under the Act. Revival of worship is not allowed wherever it is not practiced at the time of protection of a monument.”

The Appeal against an order of a Civil Judge, dismissing the Suit alleging that the Quwwat-Ul-Islam Masjid situated within the Qutub Minar Complex in Mehrauli was built in place of a temple complex thereby seeking restoration of the temple complex comprising of as many as 27 temples.

But Qutub Minar is not a place of worship and since the time of its protection by the Central Government, Qutub Minar or any part of Qutub Minar was not under worship by any community,” the reply states.

Significantly, the ASI admits that architectural members and images of Hindu and Jain deities are re-used in the construction of the Qutub Minar complex.

This is very clear from the inscription in the complex which is open to public viewing. The Persian inscription at the Quwwat-ul-islam mosque clearly states that the cloisters were erected with carved columns and other architectural members from 27 temples (butkhana).”

Thus, it is urged that the Suit be dismissed.