A 45-year-old man from Bengaluru was arrested by Hampi police on Wednesday for damaging two pillars and bringing them down. According to reports, Nagaraj, a resident of Avalahalli in Bengaluru was arrested when he allegedly brought down two pillars while taking a selfie with his friends at the site.
Nagraj was visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site in Ballari district with a group of friends on Wednesday when two pillars at the Saalu Mantapa were ‘accidentally’ brought down as he was trying to push them ‘for taking selfies’. The pillars were outside the Vijay Vittala Temple heritage site.
The ASI guards posted at the site had alerted the police. Subsequently, Nagaraj was taken into custody.
The Hampi police have booked a case under section 30 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, against Nagaraj. His friends were not booked as they were reportedly not involved.
CK Baba, the SP of Ballary has been quoted by The Hindu as saying, “Since there had been rain for the last few days, the ground holding the historical pillars on the protected heritage site got loose. When the accused pushed one of the pillars, it collapsed onto another pillar, which also fell to the ground. Though it was an unintentional act, we have booked a case after the ASI lodged a complaint. We have to respect heritage monuments and the law in force to protect them.”
It is notable here that the monument complex had suffered another damage when four miscreants had deliberately damaged some pillars at the Vishnu temple complex and brought them down in February this year. A court in Hospet had fined them with Rs 70,000 each and had ordered them to re-erect the pillars.
In July this year, the 16th-century Brindavana (samadhi) of Saint Vyasaraja Swamy, Rajaguru of Vijayanagara Emperor Krishnadevaraya was desecrated and vandalised in Anegundi near Hampi.