Union Minister of Culture, GK Reddy has denied media reports that his ministry has asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct an excavation at the Qutub Minar complex to ascertain the facts behind its origin.
Hyderabad, Telangana | “No such decision has been taken,” said Union Culture Minister GK Reddy on media reports that the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct excavation at the Qutub Minar complex pic.twitter.com/b97SMMTs7l— ANI (@ANI) May 22, 2022
Earlier, the media had reported that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been tasked with conducting an excavation drive in the Qutub complex to ascertain the facts about the structure. The reports claimed that after visiting the Qutub Minar complex and surveying it for almost two hours, Govind Mohan, Secretary, the Ministry of Culture, issued directives to the ASI to conduct an excavation on the site.
#BREAKING | ASI to conduct excavation at #QutubMinar Complex: Sources— News18 (@CNNnews18) May 22, 2022
After a visit at site, culture ministry officials have directed ASI to dig-in to know the facts.@kaidensharmaa shares details with @runjhunsharmas #GyanvapiMosque pic.twitter.com/Hx1ANjZdeU
As per a report by Dainik Jagran, excavation was supposed to take place at the Qutub Minar complex, where the ruins of buried Hindu temples are expected to be discovered.
Dharamveer Sharma, the former Regional Director of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), recently claimed that Qutub Minar was actually Surya Stambh. He said it was erected by Emperor Vikramaditya, not the Mughals. He also stated that the edifice was not built in sections as some historians claim.
Dharamveer Sharma is one of India’s most well-known archaeologists. He has served three times as Superintending Archaeologist at ASI’s Delhi division. According to another report in Jagran, he worked actively on Qutub Minar conservation and visited the Minaret several times. He claimed to have observed Devanagari script inside the minaret.
Sharma explained that the tower was used as a constellation observatory. The Minaret has 27 binocular sites to compute 27 constellations. He further stated that Surya Stambh is mentioned on the third floor of the Minaret.
NMA asked to move Hindu idols from the Qutub Minar complex
The National Monuments Authority (NMA) had recently requested that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) remove two Ganesha statues from the Qutub Minar complex. Late last month, the NMA chairman wrote to ASI, seeking that two Ganesh idols known as Ulta Ganesh and Ganesh in cage be shifted from the Qutub Minar complex to the National Museum. He considered the “placement of the idols” insulting and felt their location should be changed.
(The report has been updated following the Union Minister’s statement)