India flays defacement of Buddhist rock carvings in Gilgit-Baltistan

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NEW DELHI: India has criticised the defacement and destruction of Buddhist heritage belonging to 800 AD and seeks access to restore the site of archaeological importance, Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson, MEA, has said here.

He said India condemns the defacement and destruction of Indian Buddhist heritage and seeks access to restore the site of archaeological importance. “We have conveyed our strong concern at reports of vandalism, defacement and destruction of invaluable Indian Buddhist heritage located in Gilgit-Baltistan.

GILGIT: Buddhist heritage belonging to 800 AD and site of archaeological importance have reportedly been defaced.

“It is a matter of grave concern that Buddhist symbols are being destroyed and the religious and cultural rights and freedoms are being trampled with impunity in the Indian territories under illegal occupation of Pakistan,” Srivastava claimed.

He accused Pakistan of trampling the rights the people living in Gilgit-Baltistan. “Egregious activities of this nature which display contempt for the ancient civilisational and cultural heritage are highly condemnable. We have sought immediate access for its experts to the area in order to restore and preserve this invaluable archaeological heritage.

“We have once again called upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all illegally occupied territories and end the gross violation of political, economic and cultural rights of people living there,” the MEA spokesperson stated further.

Reports had earlier claimed that radicals in AJK had vandalised the Buddhist rock carvings. They wrote slogans on the rock-art and also painted a flag of Pakistan alongside.

The vandalism reminds of the 2001 act of the Taliban in Afghanistan, where the insurgents destroyed the Bamyan Buddha statues triggering global outrage. In the context of the AJK incident that took place near Chilas, netizens slammed the move and described it as “awful display of barbarism”.