Responding to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s criticism of keeping certain portions of monuments in the Capital closed to the public, the Archaeological Survey of India on Monday said these steps have been taken to prevent desecration of sacred places or misuse by undesirable elements.

According to an official of the Delhi Circle of the ASI, certain parts of the monuments have been kept out of bounds to the public because some of them have graves of kings, princes and nobles who ruled either Delhi or large parts of the country.

“The ASI does not want desecration of these graves. But if some research scholar or inquisitive visitor wants to see them, we open the locks. The aesthetic appeal of monuments can best be admired from outside. The CAG tabled its report in the Parliament recently but we have not gone through it. If the CAG wants the ASI to send it a detailed reply, we will do so at the earliest.”

Pointing out that the Qutub Minar was closed to the public after a stampede in 1981, the official said over 40 lives were lost in that incident.

Safety of visitors, especially women, is another reason cited by the ASI.

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