The violent protests led by many dissenting farmers at Delhi's Red Fort during a tractor rally on Republic day caused much structural damage to the monument, said minister Prahlad Patel on Thursday.
Patel, minister for culture and tourism, said the ticket counter had been destroyed, Lahori Gate vandalized and lights broken due to the protests. Three finials or curved structures on a gable were missing, one of which was found later, according to news agency ANI. He also said a report on the damage has been handed over to the Home Ministry and that the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) will file a First Information Report on the damage.
"The biggest loss is at the highest security area, where the Prime Minister unfurls the national flag, where some structures on a minar are missing," said Patel.
"We can assess the financial damage of lights and the ticket counter but you cannot put a price on archeological remains. Those are priceless," he added.
"All the tableaux are kept in the Red Fort premises after the Republic Day celebrations. These are viewed by the public for seven to 15 days. When I went there, I saw that these have been damaged. These include the culture ministry tableau and the Ram Mandir tableau. In fact, all the tableaux have been messed with," said Patel.
He said that while an assessment of the monetary loss in the violence can be ascertained, he was more worried about the loss of antiquities which are priceless. "The antiquities are priceless. While we can access the monetary loss, how can we gauge the loss of antiquities? The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (or AMASR Act) was formulated to protest the treasures of the past. This is the major loss," he said.
On Tuesday, a number of armed protesters drove their tractors into the Red Fort complex. They planted the "Nishan Sahib" or Sikh religious flag and chased and assaulted policemen.
As per reports, police have filed multiple cases against the protesters who ran amok. However, they are still scanning the video footages to track down who hoisted the Sikh religious flag at Red Fort.