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Activists protest apathy towards historical monuments in Dharwad

Historians, artistes, students, people from various walks of life took out a rally in Dharwad on Tuesday and staged a demonstration in front of the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Dharwad Circle office to protest the “lackadaisical” attitude of the officials and the elected representatives towards protection of historic monuments.

Addressing the protesters, noted historian H G Daddi stated that Bijapur city is a treasurehouse of monuments. But, due to the apathy of officials, the monuments were getting damaged and vested interests have encroached upon the reserved area, thus posing a serious threat to the historic monuments.

“There are several magnificent monuments built during the Adil Shahi period in Bijapur. Each of these monuments are testimony to the rich architecture and attract thousands of foreign tourists every year. Because of these monuments, Bijapur city has been identified on the global map. However, the government is least bothered about the damage caused to these monuments. It is indifferent towards protection and preservation of the monuments for the future generations,” he charged.

Daddi said, unplanned development, greed of the people in power to grab the reserve area had shamed historians in particular and the public in general.

If such negligence by the ASI officials continue, very soon these monuments would be drubbed into ground, erasing the historic city tag, he lamented.

Daddi said, these monuments provide a plethora of information regarding the rich history of the Adil Shahis. The need of the hour is to protect these sites, clear them of encroachments and initiate steps to take up a scientific study on them.

He further added that this protest is a call for the ASI officials and the elected representatives to wake up and come up with concrete steps to rejuvenate the historic places. If the ASI fails to respond to this, the protests would be intensified in the coming days, he warned.

Speaking on the occasion, an activist Raju Bijapur stated that it is unfortunate that people have been forced to stage a protest to protect the culture and history of the country. He said, this protest is an alarm bell for the people in power to protect the monuments and will go till the last monument is protected and preserved, he added.

An activist alleged that mosques and madarasas have come up in the reserved area. Of the 95 monuments in Bijapur, 30 monuments have been encroached upon.

“This information is provided by the ASI under the RTI. However, the officials have turned a blind eye towards protection of these monuments,” he added.

Cultural activist Manoj Hangal, Pratap Bahurupi, members of Hum Bharathiya Welfare Trust, Mohammad Shafi and several others took part in the protest. Later, the members submitted a memorandum addressed to the ASI higher authorities.

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