FIR lodged against ASI, Odisha Tourism over book session at Mukteswar Temple


Bhubaneswar: Historian Anil Dhir, who has raised objection to a book reading session by author William Dalrymple at the Mukteswar Temple to be held on April 5, on Wednesday lodged an FIR with Old Town Police requesting the police to ensure that the proposed is not held.

The Odisha Tourism is planning a book reading session by Dalrymple at the Mukteswar Temple, an ASI protected monument. Dhir too has written to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) DG Usha Sharma appealing to her to not allow such event.

“Mukteswar temple, being a protected monument by ASI, cannot be used for such a jamboree. The event is to promote and publicize William Dalrymple’s latest book Nine Lives. It is purely a private affair with commercial interests, allowing this to be held at the premises of a protected monument in illegal. The ASI has not given permission for use of the premises for such an event,” Dhir said in the FIR.

Besides flouting the rules of the ASI and National laws, it is a gross violation of The Orissa Ancient Monuments Preservation Act 1956. Section 16 of the Act provides for penalty for imperiling and putting to risk any monument of the State, he said.

Uncontrolled crowds at such events do indeed imperil and put to risk a valued heritage structure, said Dhir. He urged the police to take appropriate action to ensure that teh proposed event is not held.

Mukteswar is a living temple where ritualistic worship is conducted every day.

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