People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 31

August 02, 200

Intellectuals Disturbed Over Monuments Takeover Attempts


The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) issued the following statement on July 28.

WE are deeply disturbed by the attempts being made by interested quarters to take over several historically important and protected monuments in different parts of the country, in clear violation of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, on the excuse of offering worship there. Many of the monuments are parts of the precious legacy of the country and, under the rules framed under the Ancient Monuments Act, there can be no installation of worship wherever it had ceased.

We call upon the prime minister, who is also in-charge of the ministry of culture to initiate immediate action to save these monuments from encroachment. We also call upon the chief minister of Delhi to rein in all such elements who are aiding and abetting the violation of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958. We also call upon the authorities to initiate immediate steps to evict the encroachers and to take all steps to ensure the protection of all listed monuments. This should set a model for official action against law-breakers irrespective of the religious community or ritual concerned.

The signatories of the statement are Irfan Habib, Ram Rahman, Amar Farooqui, D N Jha, Prabhat Shukla,  Arjun Dev, Sohail Hashmi, Zahoor Siddiqui, Shireen Moosvi, Suraj Bhan, Suvira Jaiswal and Archana Prasad.