Madhya Pradesh: Drain dug up in Khajuraho temple premises, probe ordered

ASI officials fail to come up with a valid reason even after a month of the incident.

SmitaUpdated: Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 01:14 AM IST
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Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): A 30-foot-long and three-foot-deep drain dug up using JCB machines on the temple premises in Khajuraho without ASI permission has kicked up a row. The unauthorised digging took place in the area between Kandariya Mahadev and Vishwanath temples. The incident that occurred in the evening of April 24 came to light after a video clip recently went viral on social media. ASI maintains and protects the temples of Khajuraho, a UNESCO heritage site, and so no JCB machine can enter the premises without its permission. Khjuraho in Chhatarpur district comes under ASI’s Jabalpur circle.

For around a month, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials kept mum over the drain illegally dug on the campus until the video clipping of the incident made it to the social media.

Superintending archaeologist Shivakant Bajpayee of the circle has ordered an inquiry into the incident. Talking to Free Press over phone, Bajpayee said that he did not receive any formal complaint about the incident, but has ordered an inquiry into it. He further said that he would be able to comment on the incident only after receiving the report.

According to a resident of Khajuraho, Hariom Khare, the area where the drain was dug up with the help of JCB machines belongs to the Western group of temples in Khajuraho. The gate through which the JCB machines were taken inside the temple compound is open only to VVIPs, like the President and Prime Minister.

Thousands of statues are lying buried in soil here and digging done sans permission must have some connections with smuggling of idols, he added. Aside from that, a month has passed since the incident, but an inquiry into the case was ordered now, he said, alleging that digging was done at night in the presence of SIS security guards. The Khajuraho temple comes under a high-security zone, so it is impossible to enter there with a JCB machine, said Khare.

Public relations officer of tourism department Vikas Khare said that light and sound show being held on the temple premises had to be cancelled on April 25 because of the digging work which disrupted water supply there.

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