Govt fails to protect archaeological monuments in JK

city-lead-300x185‘3rd century AD Buddist site not on protection list’

Rising Kashmir, Sumaiya Yousuf

Srinagar, Aug 02: State government has failed to protect a 3rd century AD archaeological monument located in the Harwan area of summer capital.

The monument is situated in Harwan Srinagar and is known to be a Buddhist site.

This site was identified by the department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums J&K two years ago and was immediately declared as an archaeological site.

The approximate date of construction of this site is 3rd century AD.

According to the officials, they had sent a proposal to Government of India (GoI) for the protection of unidentified archaeological sites in J&K. “This site was also included in the proposal but we didn’t get any response from State government as well as GoI,” the officials said.

They added that this site belongs to Buddist period where the Terracotta Tiles have also been found.
“The State government is not protecting this site and not only this site but there are number of sites similar to this one which are not protected by the State government,” officials said.

Besides this, two more sites that have been identified as archaeological marvels in the State by the department of archaeology include a 15 centuries and 11 centuries old monuments both located in Srinagar and left unprotected by State government.

The two sites include Pandrathan temple situated in Pandrathan Sonwar.

The approximate date of construction of this site is 10th century AD and another one is remains of Parvashwar Temple which has been constructed in 6th century AD approximately.

“The Pandrathan temple is a well maintained and situated in Badamibagh Cantonment area. The temple is built of massive limestone,” read an official document, a copy of which lies with Rising Kashmir.
The document further reveals that the remains of Parvashwar temple are in north of shrine of Bahu-Din Gung Bakesh where only the gate is visible now.

“All the three sites are not protected by the State government under the State Archaeological Act.”
Moreover, both State government and GoI have failed to protect 144 proposed archaeological sites here despite the officials of archaeological department urging GoI and State ministry to protect these sites under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) or State Archaeology Act, the officials are yet to receive any response.

The officials said that GoI has been unresponsive towards the protection of archaeological sites in Kashmir.

“These sites were identified in 2011 and a proposal was sent to GoI seeking protection under ASI but we have not received any positive response so far,” an official in Archaeology Department said.

He added, “The Department had sent a full list with proper data sheet documentation of monuments, heritage buildings and sites of District Srinagar having 144 sites that are unprotected by both State and central government.”

The State government is protecting only 5 sites in Srinagar city. These five sites include Mosque and Tomb of Madin Sahib Hawal Srinagar, Hari Parbat Fort Srinagar, Old Ceremonial at Old Secretariat Srinagar, Historical Tomb at Soura Srinagar and Hari Parbat wall (Qalie) Srinagar. There is no scholar in the department of archaeology in Kashmir who could have tried to approach higher authorities to save the heritage of Kashmir.

“The department needs a major reshuffle. There is a need to appoint young scholars to this department to avoid future loss of archaeological sites,” Conveyor Indian National Trust for Art and Heritage J&K (INTACH) J and K chapter, M Saleem Baig told Rising Kashmir.

The GoI protects only 69 sites of J&K where as State protects only 41 sites across J&K with 17 sites in Kashmir and 24 sites in Jammu division.

Meanwhile, it was recently revealed that despite being identified as an archaeological site of Jammu Kashmir, Archaeological marvel historic Jamia Masjid (Grand Mosque) at Nowhatta in the heart of the old city has also not been protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.

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