Defying the staff of the Archaeological Survey of India, a group of Hindus forced their entry into the ASI protected Martand Sun Temple in J&K's Anantnag district the same day the 'Pran Pratishtha' took place at the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
A late report said that on January 22 members of a Hindu religious group forced their way into the ASI protected site to offer prayers. Despite their entry into the Martand Sun Temple situated in Anantnag district of the Valley, ASI staff said the group was not allowed to squat inside the ruins of the 8th century temple built by King Lalitaditya Muktapida of Karkota dynasty. The temple was dedicated by the King to Hindu god Surya also known as Martand in Sanskrit language.
Group performs 'Parikrama', chant Hanuman Chalisa
Reports said the group of Hindus had come from Bharatpur in Rajasthan and they unfurled a saffron flag inside the temple complex after completing 'Parikrama' while chanting Hanuman Chalisa on January 22.
The attempt made by the members of the Hindu group was their third consecutive attempt since 2022. The lesser known group is called Rashtriya Anhad Mahayog Peeth. The group had timed its 2024 attempt with the inauguration of prayers at the Ayodhya Ram Temple.
What do the ASI guidelines say?
ASI guidelines prohibit the holding of prayers inside any temple or mosque or other sites of other religions that are protected by the ASI unless such sites were functional prayer sites when they came to be protected by the ASI. Martand Sun Temple is believed to have been destroyed by the local Muslim King, Sikander Shah who was known as an iconoclast.
Last year in April the Rajasthan-based Hindu group had come to perform 'puja' at Martand Sun Temple, but the group was disallowed from entering the Temple complex and were detained at the Shiv temple in Mattan town near Martand.