PHOTO COURTESY- INDIAN EXPRESS
AMN / NEW DELHI
In another incident of vandalism by unscrupulous elements, the state-notified monument built on a mound, amid buildings and a park, has been turned into a temple by painting saffron and palcing idols inside it.
According to Indian Express, Gumti — a small, domed tomb of Tughlaq dynasty in Safdarjung Enclave’s Humayunpur village —was painted white and saffron in March, and idols placed inside it.
According to a 2010 notification by the state’s Urban Development department, Gumti was notified as one of the 767 heritage sites, and received a grade-I listing. In 2014, the Archaeology department notified it again as a heritage site.
Little is known about who was buried here or who built Gumti. But the architecture – pointed tip of the dome and absence of mihrab (a semi-circular niche in the wall) — points at either late-Tughlaq or early-Lodi period.
It is learnt that the work has been done in complete violation of the Citizen Charter of the Department of Archaeology, which states that one “cannot paint, draw or whitewash any wall in and around the monument” and “cannot hamper or spoil the originality of the monument”.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “I have no information about this, I will ask the department concerned to conduct an inquiry and send me the report.”
The Delhi Chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) was supposed to take up restoration work of the 15th-century monument, in collaboration with the Archaeology department, last year. Ajay Kumar, projects director, INTACH-Delhi, “This was a locked monument and we were unable to start work there due to resistance from residents… we went with police but it didn’t work out. Now it’s become a temple and we’ve lost the monument.”
Meanwhile, two saffron-coloured benches placed in the complex bear the name of BJP councillor from Safdarjung Enclave, Radhika Abrol Phogat.
However, Phogat told The Indian Express, “The structure was turned into a temple without my knowledge, consent or support. It was done with the connivance of the previous BJP councillor. I objected too, but it’s a sensitive issue. With whatever that is going on in the country, one can’t touch a temple. The benches with my name were initially in the park.”