Sabarimala ‘chempola’ not antique: ASI report

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has submitted a report to the Crime Branch team that is probing, among other aspects, the veracity of alleged conman Monson Mavunkal’s claim that he had a huge collection of antiques in his possession, that the Sabarimala ‘chempola’ (copper inscription) and the Nataraja idol that he had portrayed as rare antiques, were not genuine.

The ASI report says only two of the 10 items that it inspected fell under the ambit of antiques. They include a Roman coin and an iron spearhead. The State Archaeology Department had inspected about three dozen items – including what was claimed as the throne of Tipu Sulthan. All of them were found to be non-antiques, since they were not over 100 years old, official sources said.

Among them, the Tipu throne is less than 15 years old and was crafted by a Kerala artisan. The probe team would hand over the ASI report to the court shortly. It would also launch a probe into how the ‘chempola’, which was portrayed as an antique, surfaced at a time when the issue of women’s entry to Sabarimala was at its peak. The probe will cover whether it was fake and the conspiracy angle if any in the case, it is learnt.

The copper inscription had assumed widespread attention during the 2018 Sabarimala protests, when a couple of media outlets highlighted it as an authentic document on the rituals and customs of ancient Sabarimala.

The probe team is, in the meantime, awaiting a detailed examination report from the ASI on the items that were reportedly passed off as antiques by Monson.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 12:41:36 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/sabarimala-chempola-not-antique-asi-report/article38283636.ece