BALLARI: They huffed and puffed, panted and sweated it out. The four youths who had vandalised pillars at the Vishnu temple complex in Hampi learnt the hard way what their act would bring upon them. Not only did the JMFC court in Hosapete fine them Rs 70,000 each, the four were also asked to re-erect the fallen pillars. Only after this were they let off by judge Poornima Yadav.
Additional Public Prosecutor Geetha Mirajkar told Express that the four accused — Ayush from Madhya Pradesh, Raja Babu Chowdary, Raj Aryan and Rajesh Kumar Chowdary all from Bihar — were taken to the spot where they re-erected the pillars, weighing tonnes, in the presence of Archaeological Survey of India officials, the Hampi police inspector and others and a report was filed to the court prior to their release on Saturday.
Speaking to Express, Kalimuthu, Deputy Superintending Archeologist, Hampi Mini Circle, confirmed that some of the fallen pillars had been re-erected by the youths.
Geetha said the four were arrested on February 8 and were in custody till February 13. “The maximum punishment for the act is two years imprisonment or 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,” she said.
The incident created a furore after a video of the youths damaging the temple pillars went viral. One of the four, Ayush, posted the video on his Instagram account and had later deleted it. But by then, the video had been shared widely. The Ballari police constituted two teams . The accused were nabbed on February 8 and booked under the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.