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Tharparkar Communities Protest Authorities’ Decision To Move Sacred Artefacts

MITHI: A move by officials from the Culture Tourism & Antiquities Department Sindh to shift four artefacts of ancient sacred deities has created anger, uproar and indignation in the Tharparkar district. Speaking to the media, people from Nagarparkar town and other areas strongly condemned the moving of the sacred artefacts, which were discovered from the region during the recent excavation and renovation work undertaken by the concerned functionaries of the department at Jain temples and some other sites. Local people have demanded that all the idols be placed at the proper place in any Jain temple or any other protected site at the foothills of the famous Karoonjhar hills, so that thousands of the tourists visiting that region and its ancient temples can see these sacred antiquities.

People from various segments of local communities have claimed that officials might even proceed to sell the artefacts to any foreign companies interested in such novel antiquities. In light of such concerns, these communities have warned of expanding the scope of their protests if the artefacts are not returned and placed at their proper place.

When contacted, the Director General of the department Mr. Manzoor Ahmed Kanasro said that officials shifted the idols on his directions to protect them from any damage or theft by unscrupulous elements. He said that on the directions of Syed Sardar Ali Shah, a building of the museum and the research centre were under construction beside the ancient famous Bhodesar Jain Temple on the foothills of the Karoonjhar hills. He added that other artefacts discovered from sites of the Parkar region would be placed there for the tourists and those researching on the ancient and religious sites of Tharparkar.

“The department has undertaken a number of the mega-projects to not only protect and preserve such [artefacts] but also also to further boost and promote tourism in the whole desert district,” he said. He reiterated his department’s assurances that none of the artefacts would be tampered with.

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