As per media reports, the vandals who pulled down the Hampi Pillars in Karnataka are reported to have been made to re-erect the pillars and slapped with a fine of Rs 70,000 each.
In a video which went viral last week, four men in the Ballari district of Karnataka were seen vandalizing the Vishnu temple complex in Hampi. Ayush Sahu, Raja Babu, Raj Aryan, and Rajesh Choudhary were seen pulling down pillars from the sacred site. The temple dates back to the 7th century and is a part of the Group of Monuments at Hampi which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The video of the felonious act went viral on social media after one of the perpetrators Ayush Sahu, apparently proud of his handiwork posted the same on his Instagram page. Unfortunately for him, the video caused much uproar and following that, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) filed a complaint. Acting on the same, the Police formed four teams and traced down the accused one-by-one from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Madhya Pradesh.
The culprits were pulled up by the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court in Hospet and arrested on February 8th. The punishment was meted out to them by Judge Poornima Yadav, who gave a rather unusual punishment by making the culprits re-erect the pillars. As per the Additional Public Prosecutor Geetha Mirajkar, the pillars, weighing in tonnes were re-erected by the perpetrators in the presence of Archaeological Survey of India officials and the Hampi police inspector. After being slapped a fine of Rs 70,000 each, they gave an undertaking that they would not indulge in such vandalism again. As per the Hindu’s report, the miscreants were released on 14th February, after they paid the fine. According to the Public Prosecutor, such acts of vandalism carry a maximum punishment of two years imprisonment or fine up to Rs 1 lakh.
In the aftermath of the incident, the ASI Hampi mini-circle has taken up the work of restoring and conserving the granite pillars at the ancient Vishnu temple in Hampi. The Vishnu temple, which is located at a little distance from the Elephant Stables, is not frequented by many tourists. The granite pillars, measuring around seven feet with a granite capital measuring about a foot, stand free of support on the nearly 1×1 square base in the prakaras. The ASI, to ensure that the granite pillars don’t fall or are not dislodged by miscreants, plans to fix them to the ground now. “Work has started and will be completed very soon,” an official said. Moreover, the ASI has posted an armed guard at the Vishnu temple to prevent further vandalism. Aimed at setting precedence for miscreants, the unusual punishment given by Judge Poornima Yadav is the perfect example of “as you sow, so shall you reap”.
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