Former ASI regional director Dharamveer Sharma had recently said that Qutub Minar was actually a “sun tower” built by Chandragupta Vikramaditya of the Gupta Empire in the 5th Century.
Union Culture Minister G K Reddy on Sunday clarified that no directions have been issued by the government for excavation at the Qutub Minar complex in Delhi. “No such decision has been taken,” Reddy said when asked if the culture ministry had issued directions to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The clarification comes amid reports doing rounds that the ASI is to conduct an excavation at the popular site.
Culture Secretary Govind Mohan’s visit to the monument on Saturday sparked rumours that the ASI has been asked to conduct excavations to ascertain whether the UNESCO World Heritage Site was built by Qutubuddin Aibak in the 12th Century or by the Gupta Empire much earlier.
The Ministry insisted it was a regular site visit by its officials and no such decision has been taken so far.
A few days ago, former ASI regional director Dharamveer Sharma was quoted as saying that the Qutub Minar was actually a “sun tower” built by Chandragupta Vikramaditya of the Gupta Empire in the 5th Century.
Two weeks ago, members of a right-wing group recited the Hanuman Chalisa outside the Sutub Minar complex and staged a protest demanding that the iconic monument be renamed ‘Vishnu Stambha’. At least 30 demonstrators were detained.
International working president of United Hindu Front, Bhagwan Goyal, alleged that the Qutub Minar is the ‘Vishnu Stambha’, which was built by the “great king Vikramaditya”.
“But later, Qutubuddin Aibak claimed credit for it. There were 27 temples in the complex and those were destroyed by Aibak. Proof of all this is available as people can find idols of Hindu gods kept in the Qutub Minar complex. Our demand is that Qutub Minar should be called as Vishnu Stambha,” he told PTI.
The Indian Express quoted sources saying that the ASI has been asked to conduct the iconography of idols at Qutub Minar. It has also recommended that visitors should be given detailed information on various Hindu and Jain idols located in the complex through appropriate signboards. Even though there has been no decision on conducting excavations, the matter did come up for consideration during the official visit, added the source.