The Virupaksha Temple at Hampi | Shekhar Gupta/ThePrint
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Karnataka minister D.K. Shivakumar says stringent action will be taken against perpetrators.

Bengaluru: Days after Karnataka’s heritage city Hampi ranked second on the New York Times list of “52 places to Go in 2019,” a video of youths desecrating a pillar of the ruins has gone viral on social media.

The video, which has received a lot of flak, shows three youths pushing one of the pillars of the temple and damaging it. Several other damaged pillars can also be seen in the same video.

On Saturday, Bellary superintendent of police Arun Rangarajan visited the spot and said an investigation has been launched.

“We have information and we have begun our probe. We know that they are four individuals involved and we will identify them and begin arrests,” he told reporters in Hampi.

Archaeological Survey of India officials also visited the spot and began an internal inquiry over the incident.

The video surfaced Friday after it was posted on Instagram by a resident of Bengaluru, Ayush Sahu, with the caption: “hope the officials concerned will act against such people.”

Also read: Go to Hampi, says NYT. You’ll see a treasure ruined again, with peanuts for restoration

‘Protest site’

Reacting to the video, Karnataka Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar, who is also in-charge of Bellary district, said, “Stringent action will be taken against the perpetrators who have hauled historic inscribed stone pillars in Hampi.”

“I have asked the concerned police officers to take appropriate action immediately and detain the perpetrators. Any damage or annihilation of our historical monuments will not be taken lightly,” added Shivakumar.

Vijayanagara Smaraka Samskrithi Samrakshana Sene (VSSS), a local organisation, also demanded a proper protest as well proper protection of the monuments in Hampi.

Speaking to ThePrint, VSSS convenor Vishwanath Malagi claimed that this not the first time that such an incident has taken place in Hampi.

In 2016, someone damaged pillars at Achyutha Raya Bazaar. A Shiva linga located amid the rocks in Tungabhadra at the world heritage site was also found damaged in June 2017, he claimed.

Targeting State Archaeology Department, ASI and Hampi World Heritage Management Authority, the three agencies responsible for protecting the monuments at Hampi, he said that none of them are able to maintain the monuments.

Hampi is famous for its archaeological monuments form the 14th-16th century. It was the last capital of the Vijayanagar Empire. Hampi is known to have thrived as one of the largest and richest cities in the world. It has over 1,000 monuments, including Hindu temples, forts and palaces.

The world heritage site is famous for its geological rock formations on the Tungabhadra river.

It’s the only destination from South Asia to feature the New York Times list released earlier this year.

Also read: NYT lists Hampi as the second must-see global destination for 2019


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