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ASI reclaims 2300-year-old Ashoka edict that was illegally occupied and converted into ‘mazar’ in Sasaram, Bihar

In September this year, reports emerged, that the 2300-year-old historical site had been encroached upon and converted into a 'mazar.'

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) took to Twitter Tuesday to inform that the Ashoka edict in Bihar has been reclaimed by the agency. In September this year, reports emerged, that the 2300-years-old historical site in the natural cavern of Chandan Hill of the Kaimur hill range at Sasaram, the headquarters of Bihar’s Rohtas district had been encroached upon and converted into a ‘mazar.’

Today, however, ASI confirmed that the “key of the site, which is a protected monument, was handed over to officials of @ASIGoI after the intervention of district authorities.” The agency also shared a picture of the encroachers handing over the keys to the site to the ASI officials.

The agency further informed that a portion of the Asoka inscription of Sahasaram (232 or 231 BCE) which consists of eight lines in archaic Brahmi characters is damaged.

 2300-year-old Ashoka edict in Sasaram, Bihar converted into Mazar

It may be recalled that in September this year, OpIndia reported how the site of the Ashokan edict had been converted into a Mazar, and Islamic prayers were being offered at the site after it has been covered with a green cloth.

Ashoka the Great embossed the edict 2300 years ago in the natural cavern of Chandan Hill of the Kaimur hill range at Sasaram, the headquarters of Bihar’s Rohtas district. This inscription is in Brahmi script, and it is one of just eight in the country. This inscription is listed among them, and it is the sole inscription from Bihar.

The inscription had been encircled by unlawful construction around it. The inscription had been made a Mazar by covering it with a green cloth after it had been coated with white lime. An annual Urs was also being organised there by declaring it as the tomb of a Sufi saint. The gate of the monument was kept closed following this illegal construction.

In the years following independence, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) designated this edict as a protected monument in 2008. The ASI had also put up a conservation board near the inscription at Kandara, which is located about 20 feet below the top of the Ashiqpur hill in the Kaimur hill range between Sasaram city’s old Grand Trunk Road (GT Road) and the new bypass. However, the encroachers removed the board.

In 2008, 2012, and 2018, the ASI ordered that the encroachments surrounding the Ashoka edict be removed by the District Magistrate (DM). Following this, the District Magistrate directed the SDM of Sasaram to take appropriate action. The SDM had ordered the Markazi Muharram Committee, which had illegally encroached on the site, to immediately hand over the key to the administration, but the committee refused. A large structure was gradually constructed illegally there.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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