HYDERABAD: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has dismissed AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi’s contention that the heritage body had not done anything regarding the Bhagyalakshmi temple which abuts Charminar and which the national heritage body has time and again maintained as “illegal”.
Earlier, against the backdrop of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid verdict, in which the Supreme Court cited the ASI’s report to come to its judgment, Owaisi was asked whether he may take up the issue of this temple. He replied, “Let ASI take action. Let BJP take action, they are in power. Will ASI take action, or will they act as the handmaiden of Hindutva?”
In response, while speaking to Express, ASI-Hyderabad Superintending Archaeologist Milan Kumar Chauley, said, “Our office from the 1960s has been sending letters to the district administration to remove the temple. But they never took any action.” The ASI’s constitution does not give it the power to take action on its own. However, it can refer to local bodies such to take action. As of now, there is a case lodged with the High Court, and the court has asked them to maintain status quo and stopped the temple’s further expansion.
Last year, in a letter to State DGP M Mahender Reddy, regarding a shed that the police had illegally constructed near Charminar, Chauley had said, “The Director General, Archaeological Survey of India noticed that a shed covered with plastic sheets used by the police and a temporary room erected with police barricades around the Bhagyalakshmi temple which is an illegal construction and an eyesore to the monument’s glory.”