On Thursday, the Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, in its report submitted to President of India and Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, recommended allowing religious rituals at sites declared as “protected monuments” by the Archeologiocal Survey of India (ASI), reported The Tribune.
Headed by BJP Rajya Sabha member TG Venkatesh, the committee felt that several historical monuments across the country held immense religious significance to many people.
“The committee, therefore, recommends that the ASI may explore the possibility of permitting puja/worship/religious activities at centrally protected monuments of religious significance, subject to the condition that it can be established that such activities will not have any detrimental effect on the state of conservation and preservation of the monument,” said the 328th report on Issues Related to Untracable Monuments and Protections of Monuments in India.
Last month, ASI told a Delhi court that the Qutub Minar is not a place of worship, nor can it be revived as one under the laws of the land. The court had earlier reserved its order for June 9 on pleas seeking to restore the right to worship for Hindus and Jains at the Quwwat-Ul-Islam mosque in the monument’s premises.
In its affidavit, the ASI relied on the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
The Hindu Sena has used the law to counter the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which seeks to preserve the “religious character” of a place of worship as it existed on 15 August 1947.
The ASI however has relied on the Act in the Qutub Minar case to claim that the mosque’s character was frozen after it came under the protection of the law.