RAIPUR: Two weeks after a 1000-year-old Ganesha idol was toppled from the Dholkal hilltop in the restive Dantewada district, the outlawed CPI (Maoist) has denied their involvement in the issue in a statement released on Sunday.
The secretary of the south sub-zonal bureau of CPI (Maoist), Ganesh Uike, blamed the Bastar police for "falsely accusing" the rebels behind the destruction of the idol.
“It’s a conspiracy by the police to defame the Maoists. They had deliberately carried out a malicious campaign against us in the media. The CPI (Maoist) respects the religious beliefs of people and never engage in such atrocious acts,” Uike said in the press release.
The police, however, stand by their claims. “The investigation will reveal the truth”, Dantewada superintendent of police, Kamal Lochan Kashyap told Express.
The police had blamed the Maoists for attempting to destroy the Ganesha idol. “After visiting the spot, we were absolutely sure that such a misdeed (sic) is the handiwork of left-wing extremists. The rebels were seemingly worried owing to the tourists and visitors in increasingly number (sic) visiting the picturesque spot and praying there. The region happens to be their stronghold", Kashyap said.
Earlier, the Ganesha idol—a 4-feet high stone statue, weighing around 500 kg— was found toppled from a height of about 300 feet. Noted archaeologist Arun Sharma says it is prudent not to jump to a conclusion as to who was responsible for the sabotage. "Let the investigation be completed. There could possibly be another reason for the 11th century-old idol felling (sic) from such a height", Sharma said.
The Dantewada collector Saurabh Kumar also preferred not to outrightly hold the rebels accountable. “It’s really difficult to ensure security in that area during the night— the region being highly inhospitable, densely forested and being the epicentre of Maoists. If the rebels had vandalised the idol, they can easily do it again after we restored it,” Kumar told TNIE.
The archaeological team and the conservationists collected 18 big pieces ones of the idol along with various smaller ones. “As per the wishes of the local villagers we decided to restore the idol to its previous spot under the supervision of archaeologist Arun Sharma. The village youths have assured us of safeguarding the Ganesha idol,” the director of state archaeological department Ashutosh Mishra said. The idol was assembled and placed to the original spot on February 4.