Qutub Minar Excavations: Culture Ministry denies giving orders to ASI
The officials at the Union Ministry of Culture have rubbished reports stating it had ordered the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct excavations at Qutub Minar in Delhi. Earlier, reports had stated that the excavation order was issued after Hindu deity idols were allegedly discovered at the site and claimed that the site was constructed by Raja Vikramaditya, a Hindu emperor.
Why does this story matter?
A petition was recently filed in Delhi's Saket court, requesting that Hindu deities be restored and worshipped in the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which is part of the Qutub Minar complex. According to the petition, Muhammad Ghori's general, Qutub-ud-Din Aibak, demolished 27 temples and used this material to construct the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque on the site. The petition will be heard on Tuesday.
What triggered the excavation report?
The controversy erupted after the ASI's former regional director, Dharamveer Sharma, recently claimed that Raja Vikramaditya, not Qutub-ud-Din Aibak, built the Qutub Minar to study the direction of the Sun. Later, reports claimed that the ASI was asked by the Culture Ministry to submit an excavation report of the site.
No excavation conducted since 1991: ASI
Govind Mohan, the Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, made the decisions on excavations on Saturday during a site survey with officials, the reports claimed. Mohan was reportedly accompanied by three historians, four ASI officers, and researchers to the site. The secretary was allegedly informed by the ASI officials that no excavation work had been done at the Qutub Minar complex since 1991.
Hindu groups demand renaming Qutub Minar to Vishnu Stambh
Earlier, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) claimed that Qutub Minar was actually "Vishnu Stambh" and that the structure was built with materials salvaged from 27 Hindu-Jain temples. Following the discovery of the 1,200-year-old idols of Lord Narsingha, Ganesha, and Krishna inside Qutub Minar, several Hindu organizations have staged protests, chanted the Hanuman Chalisa, and demanded the renaming of Qutub Minar to Vishnu Stambh.
More details regarding the development
As per experts, the claim of a Vishnu Stambh is more plausible for the 5th century Gupta-period Iron Pillar located in the Qutub Minar complex rather than the minaret itself. In addition to the Qutub Minar, excavations were earlier reported to be conducted at Lalkot Fort and Mehrauli's Anangtal in Delhi.