Guided by that beacon of light emanating from Article 51(f) of our Constitution, (which enjoins every Indian citizen to protect “the rich heritage of our composite culture”), and alarmed by reports and photographs that several ancient artefacts from Belagavi Fort were packaged on 27/5/2016 by the 115 T.A. Bn. and sent to the MLIRC for despatch to Bangalore, concerned citizens of Belagavi contacted the Deputy Commissioner, who intervened and recovered the stones, which were transported back to the Belagavi Fort on 28/5/2016.
Since this is a sensitive issue which also affects the sentiments of the Jain community, which built the temples and the Fort around them a 1000 years ago, the local MLA (a Jain) and a former MLA (also a Jain) led a delegation of senior leaders of the Jain community to visit the 115 T.A.Bn. at about 10:30 am on 30/5/2016, to see if the original relics had been restored to the Fort.
Sadly, the officers of the 115 T.A.Bn. refused to let them even see, let alone photograph, the relics or the statue of Bhagwan Mahaveer which was excavated a few years back and which adorns the lawns of the Mess.
This has caused further anguish and hurt to the sentiments of the vast Jain community who now suspect that a ‘cover up’ is afoot, or a despatch of some other of the 29 other artefacts which are with the 115 T.A.Bn. is underway.
It is learnt from Press Reports that the Sub Area Commander (KK&G Area) has compelled the MLIRC to pick up and shift some of the most beautiful stone artefacts of Belagavi Fort (see enclosed photograph of the stones that have been recovered by the D.C.) to Bangalore. The pretext for the lifting and shifting of the stones was to be the Carbon 14 dating of these stones (although C-14 dating can only be done on hydrocarbons and there is no agency in Bangalore for this).
The Admn. Commandant of the MLIRC has been pursuing this request of the Sub-Area Commander with uncommon enthusiasm, and has, in his Order, also stated that no receipt will be provided by the MLIRC for these artefacts.
This has deepened the suspicion further and since the 28th of May 2016, the Press has articulated the feeling of the Belagavi citizens that yet another attempt — the fourth by the 115 T.A.Bn. in the last few years — is underfoot, to lift and distribute the exquisite artefacts of Belagavi Fort.
We citizens wish to know the truth, for the Truth, as the Mahatma reminded us, sets us all free.
The Belagavi Fort is History’s priceless gift to the people of Belagavi.
Having become aware of the imminent danger to all the artefacts in the possession of the Army here, the citizens wish to have a proper official record of all the ancient artefacts that are in the possession of the various Army units here with each artefact numbered and stamped to prevent duplication.