Ballari: The police took a man into custody for questioning on Saturday after a video showing three men damaging what appeared to be pillars at the Hampi world heritage site, created a furore on social media. Locals staged a protest in Kamalapur town, 3 kms away from the heritage site soon after the video, in which the men can be seen pushing a pillar, began circulating on social media and demanded adequate protection for the monuments.
Agitating locals said the video was clearly shot in Hampi. "It is the temple of Vishnu behind the famous elephant stable and Lotus Mahal. The tourists need to be more responsible and monuments should be protected constantly," said Srinivas, a local.
"How can anyone destroy these priceless ancient structures? Someone sent me this video and this is just unacceptable. Enough is enough, let us find these criminals", said Praveen, a student of history at Hampi university. Responding to the public outcry, the police led by Ballari superintendent of police, Arun Rangarajan, inspected the ancient site and promised to arrest those seen in the video.
“Four or five people seem to be involved. They will be arrested," Mr Rangarajan assured.
Later, at noon, the police took a local youth into custody for interrogation, sparking off protests by some people, who demanded his release.
But Mr Rangarajan refused to give in and sent the mob away.
While police sources said the vandalism appeared to have taken place six months ago, sources in the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), Hampi, claimed it took place two years ago.
The ASI, Hampi has however, not filed any complaint with the police so far. In the recent past, ancient sculptures and monuments like the Koti Linga at Chakratheertha, the watch tower at the Raghunatha Malyavantha temple, and a carved pillar have been vandalized at the site, but there has been no headway in the investigation.
Ballari district in- charge minister, D K Shivakumar, meanwhile, assured that those involved would be caught and punished....