Road digging close to Charminar leads to dangerous speculations

By Syed Badiuzzaman

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Hyderabad: At a time when communal tensions across the country are palpable, there was a flutter from Thursday night after images and videos of digging at Charminar, the city’s most prominent landmark, were widely shared on social media. The digging with heavy machinery triggered concerns over why this was being done so close to the monument and whether permission from authorities was sought.

Investigations by this reporter revealed that the police that had given permission for digging withdrew it within 24 hours when it discovered that it was leading to the spread of rumours of dangerous kind.  Like, rumours said Mandir people are expanding the place one more time and that the Chilla walas wanted a cable to be connected to their spot.

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The AMASR Act, which lays down the dos and dont’s of maintenance of heritage structures and the permissible and prohibited activities around them, mandates that heavy machinery is not allowed in close proximity to structures such as Charminar. Video clips and media reports showed that a breaker machine was used to dig the holes. The fact that this happened in close proximity to the two religious structures, meaning the Bhagyalaxmi Temple and the Chilla, fuelled speculations.

A closer look revealed that several holes in the shape of a square were dug precariously close to the southeast minaret of the historic monument which has come to represent the identity of the city. The southeast minaret corresponds to the one that is opposite the gate of the Unani Hospital and leads to the heritage structure of Sardar Mahal.

To muddy the matter more, cables wound their way into the monument from these holes which locals said were between two and three feet deep. At the moment it is unclear why these holes were dug. They passed very close to the Bhagyalaxmi Temple as well as the Chilla, well within the fence protecting the monument.

In the recent past, communal forces, and political leaders, especially from the Bharatiya Janata Party, have used the Bhagyalaxmi Temple to blow the poll bugle, particularly during the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections. The move has increased the activity in and around the temple manifold.

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