In an act of vandalism, a Shiva linga was found damaged at the Hampi World Heritage site on Wednesday.
According to Ballari SP, Chetan RS, one of the Shiva lingas in the Koti Linga shrine, located amidst rocks in the River Tungabhadra at the Hampi World Heritage Site was found defaced.
“We suspect that it is an act of vandalism and are looking for the unidentified suspects. The incident came to light after members of the Smaraka Samskruti Samrakshana Sene wrote to the Hampi Deputy Commissioner of Police,” SP Chetan said.
The Sene has expressed its anger over the act of vandalism and has submitted a memorandum to the Hampi DSP, the Deputy Director of the State Archaeology Department and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) urging them to take steps to protect the monument and book the miscreants as soon as possible.
“If no action is taken within 10 days, we will be left with no option but to stage a rasta roko to put our point across. In 2012, one of the oldest gopuras was brought down mercilessly by miscreants looking for treasure. The police have still not caught the vandals. If they ignore this, we will have no option but to protest,” Vishwanath Malagi of the Sene said.
On October 23, 2012, the Gaali Gopura, a tower near the Malyavanta temple on the eastern side of Hampi, was razed to the ground by treasure hunters.
There were also incidents of defacement of the embossed sculptures of gods and goddesses.
Before 2012, Hampi had round-the-clock patrolling of the area by teams comprising personnel from the police, ASI, State’s archaeology department and the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority.
“When this was discontinued, the culprits found it easy to go about the treasure hunt and vandalise some of the heritage structures. This has to stop,” Malagi added.