In an unprecedented development, a tomb dating back to Tughlaq dynasty has become a Shiv Bhola temple in New Delhi. The tomb of an unknown person is located at Humayunpur village of Safdarjung Enclave in South Delhi, according to The Indian Express report. The small, domed tomb was a state-notified monument. The structure has now turned into a white and saffron temple and idols were placed inside it, the report says.
Citizen Charter of the Department of Archaeology categorically states that one “cannot paint, draw or whitewash any wall in and around the monument” and “cannot hamper or spoil the originality of the monument”. This sudden transformation is not only a shocking instance but also a complete violation of the Charter. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that he has no information about this and assured he would direct the department concerned to conduct an inquiry and send him the report, IE report says.
It has been learnt that the Delhi Chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) was supposed to take up restoration work of the 15th-century monument, in collaboration with the Archaeology department, in 2017. “This was a locked monument and we were unable to start work there due to resistance from residents… we went with police but it didn’t work out. Now it’s become a temple and we’ve lost the monument,” projects director of INTACH-Delhi Ajay Kumar said.
“Turning a monument into a religious structure is a land grab issue… the easiest thing to do is to turn it into a mandir or a mazar. We are not gatekeepers of the monument, we restore them. The protection has to be done by the state and then it should be handed over to us,” convener of INTACH Delhi chapter Swapna Liddle said.
There are two saffron-coloured benches placed near sructure has the name of BJP councillor from Safdarjung Enclave, Radhika Abrol Phogat. “The structure was turned into a temple without my knowledge, consent or support. It was done with the connivance of the previous BJP councillor. I objected too, but it’s a sensitive issue. With whatever that is going on in the country, one can’t touch a temple. The benches with my name were initially in the park,” Phogat was quoted as saying by IE.