Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday ordered an inquiry into the alleged conversion of a tomb into a temple at Safdarjung Enclave’s Humayunpur village, reported PTI. Sisodia asked the Art, Culture and Language Department secretary to submit a report by Saturday.
“It is the duty of the state archaeology department to ensure the protection of heritage monuments listed under them and take strict action in case of a lapse,” Sisodia said in his order. He added that damaging a heritage property was against the law. “The reported incident should be handled with zero tolerance by the department as it not only violates heritage related laws but is also an attempt to disturb peace and harmony in the area,” he added. The Delhi government may lodge a first information report too if the allegations are found to be true, according to The Times of India.
In March, The Indian Express reported that the 15th Century tomb, which is a state-notified heritage structure, had been turned into a temple with idols placed inside. Locals, however, say the structure has always been a temple. “As a child, I used to come here regularly with my mother and have been seeing the villagers worshipping here,” local resident Chaudhary Prem Raj told The Times of India. “Only the statues of Radha and Krisha are recent additions.”
A Kumar, the director (projects) of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, said they have visited the site many times in the last seven-eight months. “Locals say its personal property as they’ve revenue records,” he told ANI. “1929-30 document calls it tomb, to me it is a structure and its value is that its 500-years-old.”