Scrap Ancient Monuments Amendment Bill: Vaiko

Voicing his opposition to various provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017, proposed by the Union government, MDMK leader Vaiko on Monday said the Bill allowed the laying of roads near archaeological sites.

The proposed legislation had provisions which would water down the original Act, which was aimed at protecting ancient sites and monuments across the country from development activities, Mr. Vaiko said in a statement. Alleging that there was an ulterior motive behind the proposed legislation, Mr. Vaiko claimed that over 740 archaeological sites in Uttar Pradesh dated back to the Mughal empire, and many more such monuments were still underground.

“There is no doubt that the BJP government will use the proposed legislation to allow the laying of roads and bridges over [archaeological] sites and monuments that are against Hindutva,” he said.

In Tamil Nadu, there were over 410 such sites, and there was a possibility that the Act would be used to eclipse the findings at Keezhadi, which had pointed to an ancient Tamil civilisation, he argued.

The proposed legislation was passed in the Lok Sabha, but was stalled by the Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha, following which it was sent to a Select Committee. The BJP government was planning to pass it in the Upper House, he said.

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