Remember the four youths who vandalised pillars in Hampi? They have now re-erected the fallen pillars after being ordered by the judge hearing their case, according to reports.
The punishment was meted out to the four youths by Judge Poornima Yadav of the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Court in Hosapete. Not only were they each reportedly fined Rs 70,000, but they were also asked to re-erect the pillars, and made to give assurances to the court that they would not vandalise again.
They have now been released after they paid the combined fine of Rs 2.8 lakh and assisted in re-erecting the heavy pillars at the temple.
The four persons accused - Ayush from Madhya Pradesh, Raja Babu Chowdary, Raj Aryan and Rajesh Kumar Chowdary from Bihar - had filmed their act of toppling the pillars in Hampi's Vishnu temple complex in a video that was shared widely. The police however took a stringent view of the matter and formed four teams to track down and arrest the accused persons. They were arrested on February 7, a week after the video of their handiwork had gone viral.
They were taken to the same spot once again and made to help raise the pillars in the presence of officials from the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI), Hampi police, among others. "The maximum punishment for the act is two years imprisonment or a fine up to Rs 1 lakh. Offenders will have to serve the jail term if they are unable to pay the fine. The judge ordered them to pay the fine and they were released after they re-erected the pillar,” Additional Public Prosecutor Geetha Mirajkar told The New Indian Express.
The video of the vandalism had sparked outrage on social media. The police registered an FIR against the four youths following a complaint filed by the ASI's Arun Rangarajan in Hampi Police Station. "We immediately formed teams to track them and arrest them. They were in different places - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Madhya Pradesh - but we managed to find them and arrest them within a week of the video going viral. They told us that they were not aware of the archaeological importance of the pillars and that they toppled them just for fun," a police inspector at Hampi told TNM.