On Monday, a senior official said the Ministry of Culture is considering making an icon painting of Hindu and Jain artists found at Delhi’s Qutub Minar complex, adding that there are no plans to excavate the site or stop any religious practice. The comments came days after National Antiquities Authority chief Tarun Vijay sent a letter to ASI requesting that two Ganesha statues found in the nearby Quwat al-Islam mosque be moved from the complex “due to a lack of respect for their location”.
The official said the ministry is discussing whether some of these idols can be classified and displayed. He also said that since the mosque was built from the stones of the temples, such idols in different forms can be seen everywhere. So far, the official said, there is no plan to return these idols or move them elsewhere.
However, its presentation is under consideration. Controversy erupted over reports that the ministry had ordered the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct excavations at the Qutb Minar complex. Culture Minister Ji Kishan Reddy denied the reports.
Senior officials said religious practices were permitted on ASI-protected site buildings only if they were functioning places of worship at the time they took charge. They argued that religious rituals could not be held at inanimate monuments as there was no continuity of worship when it became an ASI-protected site, as with the Qutub Minar.
The official said the agency had not made any recent appeal to stop praying at the site.
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