The Union Ministry of Culture has directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct excavation and iconography of idols at the Qutub Minar complex.
The decision came after Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Govind Mohan, visited the World Heritage monument on Saturday. Sources told News18 that the ministry officials have directed ASI to dig-in “to know the facts”.
Mohan visited the site along with three historians, four ASI officers and researchers. ASI officials have informed him that the excavation work at Qutub Minar complex had not been done since 1991.
This is in the backdrop of several hindu groups demanding renaming of Qutub Minar and the complex over claims that the place was earlier one for Hindu and Jain temples.
The ministry has also asked the ASI to submit its excavation report and the process can be started in the south of the minaret at a distance of 15 meters from the mosque.
Two weeks ago, members of a right-wing group recited the Hanuman Chalisa outside the Qutub Minar complex and staged a protest demanding that the iconic monument here be renamed ‘Vishnu Stambha’. At least 30 demonstrators have been detained and taken to a police station, from where they will be released later, police said.
“They were detained because they cannot protest in the middle of the road causing traffic snarls, thereby creating inconvenience for commuters,” a police official said. International working president of the United Hindu Front, Bhagwan Goyal, claimed that the Qutub Minar is the ‘Vishnu Stambha’, which was built by the “great king Vikramaditya”.
“But later, Qutubuddin Aibak claimed credit for it. There were 27 temples in the complex and those were destroyed by Aibak. Proof of all this is available as people can find idols of Hindu gods kept in the Qutub Minar complex. Our demand is that Qutub Minar should be called as Vishnu Stambha,” he told PTI. The protestors chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’, recited the Hanuman Chalisa and displayed placards reading “Qutub Minar should be called Vishnu Stambha”, after the Hindu God Vishnu.