No excavation has been ordered at Delhi’s Qutub Minar, clarifies culture minister GK Reddy

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Union Culture Minister GK Reddy on Sunday said that no orders have been given to conduct excavations at the Qutub Minar in New Delhi, F10 News reported.

“No such decision has been taken,” Reddy told the news agency.

The clarification by Reddy came after reports said that the government has directed the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct excavations at the Qutub Minar complex to ascertain whether the monument was built by Qutubuddin Aibak or Chandragupta Vikramaditya, The Indian Express reported.

The reports had emerged after Culture Secretary Govind Mohan had visited the monument on Saturday. However, the culture ministry said that the visit by its official was regular.

Mohan had spent over two hours at the monument along with a team of senior officials and historians to discuss aspects related to the upkeep of the Qutub Minar complex, according to The Indian Express.

The team had also visited the site in the complex where two idols of the Hindu deity Ganesha are located.

Last month, the National Monuments Authority had asked the Archaeological Survey of India to retrieve the idols from the complex and move them to the National Museum, The Indian Express reported.

National Monuments Authority chief Tarun Vijay, who is also a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and a former member of the Rajya Sabha, had said that the placement of the idols was disrespectful.

“I visited the site several times and realised that the placement of the idols is disrespectful,” Vijay had said. “They come near the feet of the mosque visitors.”

However, a plea was filed in a Delhi court against the removal of the idols by advocate Hari Shankar Jain on behalf of Jain deity Tirthankar Lord Rishabh Dev. In April, the court had directed the Archaeological Survey of India to maintain a status quo till further hearing of the case, according to NDTV.

In his plea, Jain had said that the two idols were situated on the premises since times immemorial. He claimed that the Archaeological Survey of India was likely to move the idols to one of the National Museums as mere artefacts.

Meanwhile, on May 10, members of several Hindutva organisations had held a demonstration near the Qutub Minar, demanding that the minaret be renamed “Vishnu Stambh” after the Hindu deity.

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