Protest in Hampi as video clip shows pillars being vandalised

Superintendent of Police Arun Rangarajan inspecting the spot of vandalism in Hampi on Saturday.

Superintendent of Police Arun Rangarajan inspecting the spot of vandalism in Hampi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: B.M. Siddalingaswamy

A video clip showing some pillars at Hampi World Heritage Site being vandalised by a group of people surfaced on Saturday, sparking off protests by locals.

The clip shows some miscreants pushing a big stone pillar. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has filed a complaint with the local police even as there are some doubts that the vandalism may have occurred a while ago. Enquiries revealed that the incident occurred at the Vishnu temple, which is in ruins, near Parshwanatha Jain temple, behind the elephant stables.

As news of the vandalism spread, people in Hampi and Kamalapur, including members of the Save Hampi Samiti, staged a demonstration condemning the incident and criticised officials for not initiating steps to protect the monuments of Hampi. Traffic movement between Kamalapur and Kampli was disrupted for over an hour as protesters blocked the road.

Later, after submitting a memorandum to ASI officials urging them to protect the monuments and calling on the police to bring the miscreants to book, they dispersed. Sources in the ASI said the incident might have occurred up to a couple of years ago.

Superintendent of Police Arun Rangarajan visited the spot and made inquiries. He told presspersons that as per the preliminary findings, it is suspected that a minimum of four miscreants were involved in the act. “There are some clues and we will pursue them and nab the culprits,” he said.

Meanwhile, tension gripped the area for a while when the police picked up the son of a local leader for questioning. However, he was released later.

Earlier incidents

This is not the first time such an act of vandalism has occurred at Hampi. Two years ago, a Shivalinga, located amid the rocks in the Tungabhadra river, was damaged. The upper portion of the Shivalinga was cut in two. In 2012, the Gaali Gopura, a tower near the Malyavanta temple on the eastern side of Hampi, was razed by treasure hunters. There have also been incidents of defacement of the embossed sculptures of gods and goddesses.

Minister for Water Resources and district in-charge D.K. Shivakumar, in a statement released in Bengaluru, said stern action would be taken against those who caused damage to the historical artistic pillars. He said directions have been issued to the police to track down the culprits at the earliest.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 9:47:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/protest-in-hampi-as-video-clip-shows-pillars-being-vandalised/article26164467.ece

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