On Monday, a court in Hospet city of Karnataka directed the four miscreants who had vandalised pillars at the Vishnu Temple Complex in Hampi to re-erect the pillars and also imposed a fine of ₹70,000 each.
According to the reports, the judge Poornima Yadav of the local Hospet JMFC court punished the four youths – Ayush from Madhya Pradesh, Raja Babu Chowdary, Raj Aryan and Rajesh Kumar Chowdary from Bihar with ₹70,000 each and ordered that the four accused to be taken to the spot to re-erect the pillars, in the presence of Archaeological Survey of India officials, the Hampi police inspector and other officials.
The four accused reportedly admitted their guilt and assured the court that they would not indulge in vandalism in the future. All the four were also released on Thursday after they paid a total of ₹2.8 lakhs fine. Speaking to the media, Kalimuthu, Deputy Superintending Archeologist, Hampi Mini Circle, confirmed that some of the fallen pillars have been re-erected by the youths.
Additional Public Prosecutor Geetha Mirajka 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.
We had earlier reported about a group of miscreants seen in a viral video damaging the carved stone pillars in Hampi. The video shows three men wrecking the pillars of 14th century Vishnu temple and the subsequent exultation by the trio after the pillars were broken down. The fourth accused had shot the video and had uploaded it in the social media.
The incident of vandalism at historic sites of Hampi had triggered severe anger among the locals as well as people on the Social Media. People had expressed their concern and anger about the lack of enough security arrangements at such historically and culturally important locations.
The heritage collection in the ancient town of Hampi spans nearly 42 square kilometres and includes over 1,600 monuments. These relics include temples, palaces, markets and public baths. Most of the structures enduring today were built between the 14th century and 16th century, while the town dates back to 3BC. The collection of monuments has been accorded World Heritage status by the UNESCO and it represents the ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire.