Bhubaneswar, Oct 1 (LocalWire): The Indic Collective Trust, an outfit pursuing legal initiative to protect cultural heritage, has taken strong exception to the demolition of heritage structures within 75-metre-radius of Meghanad Prachir, the compound wall of the 12th century Shree Jagannath Temple.
‘The act of demolishing centuries-old structures is blatantly against the places of Worship Act, 1991, which prohibits any agency from modifying physically or otherwise the nature of a place of worship of any community,’ Ravilochanan Iyengar from the Trust, told reporters here today.
The Puri district administration had earlier claimed that the structures around the Jagannath temple had been demolished in a month-long exercise for the safety and security of the 12th century holy shrine.
Since the structures themselves have been in existence for centuries together and are part of the social and religious fabric of the town of Puri, its demolition is arbitrary and uncalled for, he said.
‘The mutts that have been demolished so far (3 out of the 18 structures notified for demolition) have historic ties to the temple and its rituals and are of great religious importance to the millions of adherents.
In demolishing these structures, the unelected officials, in their high handedness have trampled upon the rights under Article 26 of these devotees of various denominations,’ conservationist Biswajit Mohanty said.
The Emar Mutt was founded by the great Vaishnavite saint Shri Ramanuja who visited and stayed at the Mutt.
It was a place of immense religious significance to Vaishnavites across India.
The Bada Akhada Mutt was the abode of Ramanand, who had stayed and carried out his work from the place. It held significance for the Naga sect.
‘We would also like to place on record that the Archaeological Survey of India has certified eight structures in the proposed demolition drive to be heritage structures but for strange reasons did not intervene to save the monuments from being bulldozed.
The unsubstantiated claims of these structures being unsafe for habitation were floated to support the case for demolition,’ he said.
Historian Anil Dhir condemned the strong-arming tactics employed by the government officials, with regard to their treatment of Shri Ramanuja Das of Emar Mutt, by intimidating presence of a thousand strong police contingent in front of the mutt premises.