Days after Islamists in Pakistan desecrated the ancient Buddhist rock carvings in the Chilas area of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK)’s Gilgit-Baltistan by painting Pakistani flag and slogans, India has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over the destruction of Indian-Buddhist heritage in the Gilgit-Baltistan region.
Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson, the Ministry of External Affairs, said India condemns the defacement and destruction of Indian Buddhist heritage in the Gilgit-Baltistan area of the Indian territory, which is under the illegal and forcible occupation of Pakistan.
“It is a matter of grave concern that Buddhist symbols are being destroyed and the religious and cultural rights and freedoms are being trampled with impunity in the Indian territories under illegal occupation of Pakistan,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.
It is a matter of grave concern that Buddhist symbols are being destroyed and the religious and cultural rights and freedoms are being trampled with impunity in the Indian territories under illegal occupation of Pakistan: Anurag Srivastava, Ministry of External Affairs— ANI (@ANI) June 3, 2020
The Indian government has also sought access to the experts to the area in order to restore and preserve this invaluable archaeological heritage. The MEA added, “Egregious activities of this nature which display contempt for the ancient civilizational & cultural heritage are highly condemnable.”
The Ministry of External Affairs also called upon Pakistan to “vacate all illegally occupied territories and end the gross violation of political, economic and cultural rights of people living there”.
Buddhist rock carvings vandalised by Islamists in Gilgit-Baltistan
In a deplorable incident, the ancient Buddhist rock carvings in the Chilas area of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK)’s Gilgit-Baltistan was desecrated by Islamists, who painted Pakistani flag and slogans on the rock-cut art.
The incident came to light when the locals of Gilgit-Baltistan posted images on social media platforms. The Islamists had vandalised the rock carvings by writing Islamic slogans on the rock-art that belonged to 800 AD.
According to UNESCO, these carvings, including a 9-ft tall figure of the Buddha, are the last surviving references to three Buddist councils. The other sites – Hunza and Haldekush also have some more of these Buddhist carvings.