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7th century Buddhist structures in Kashmir face destruction

ANI, May 4, 2009

Kashmir, India -- Reports indicate that the seventh century Buddhist structures at Parihaspora in Pattan, Kashmir, India, are neglected and face imminent destruction.

According to a report carried in kashmirwatch.com, despite being the an area of great archeological importance housing ancient seventh century Buddhist structures including a temple of Kanishka’s and Lalitaditya’s eras, the Gawadran area in Parihaspora Pattan in north Kashmir Baramulla district is under the sickle these days.

Locals allege their repeated pleas to the concerned agencies have failed to move them.

Quoting a delegation of local residents, KNS news agency said people allege the complicity and patronage of the Tehsildar Pattan and blame Station House Officer (SHO) of Police Station Pattan as being responsible for some irreparable damage being done to the archeological site and its structures.

Even though the structures at Gawadran Parihaspora are protected monuments under the Ancient Monuments Act, yet the extraction of soil from the area continues without any respite.

They say a local landlord, who has procured some 40 kanals of land around the archeological site for setting up some business there, is using mechanical excavators for soil extraction.

The extraction process has been going on here without any respite for past many years and now the situation is such that the monuments might cave in any time, the delegation said.

The officials in the Archives department say they had reported the matter at Police Post Mirgund as well as at Police Station Pattan but the SHO there is not ready to entertain an FIR in this regard, reported KNS.

Confirming the archeological importance of the area vis-a-vis its history dating back to Kanishka’s time, KNS quoted an official as saying that there is evidence suggesting that in the seventh century, Kanishka has organized a Buddhist conference at Parihaspora.

According to experts, there are proofs suggesting presence of some really important archeological artifacts in the area which needs further exploration.

However, if the extraction of soil and subsequent constructions continue, there is little doubt that the world might lose this important historic site forever, warned an official.

He said as per the Ancient Monuments Act, there can be no extraction or construction activity even in the vicinity of any protested place.

Whatever is happening at Parihaspora is completely illegal and violation of law and it couldn’t happen without the active connivance of police, the official, who didn’t want to be named, confessed.

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