ASI's rules prohibit worship at “non-living places”, says Ministry official
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)’s rules prohibit worship at “non-living places”, a ministry of culture official said on Monday amid reports that the government has barred namaz at the Qutub Minar. “No recent order was issued. The ASI has in the past asked prayers be stopped as per the policy. The last such direction was sent some months ago.”
The official said the government was considering an inventory of the iconography at the Jain and Hindu temples surrounding the monument. “Putting up markers to help identify the icons for public knowledge is being considered.”
Culture secretary Govind Mohan and a delegation of ASI officials last week visited the site even as officials said the visit was a routine one. Union culture minister G Kishan Reddy separately said no decision on an excavation at the Qutub Minar had been taken yet.
The ministry official cited above said Mohan visited the site as the government is planning to set up an interpretation centre such as the one at the Red Fort. ASI is working to set up such centres at 500 such monuments. Former Union culture ministry Prahlad Patel earlier this month said the Qutub Minar was built after “vandalising temples”. “About Qutub Minar, it is written over there in Farsi [Persian] that it has been built by destroying 27 temples and this was written by the people who committed this, not the ASI or government. No evidence will be bigger than this.”
A Delhi court earlier directed ASI against removing two idols of Lord Ganesha from the Qutub Minar complex till further orders”.
The court order came in response to a suit filed on behalf of Jain deity Tirthankar Lord Rishabh Dev, claiming 27 temples were partly demolished by Qutubuddin Aibak, a general in the army of Muhammad Gauri, and that the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque was raised inside the 12th-century monument by reusing the material.
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