Debabrata Saikia, the Congress Leader of Opposition called upon Union Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma. In a letter Saikia drew the attention of Sharma on a recent training session organized by RSS at the historical Kareng Ghar in Sibasagar district in Upper Assam where participants chanted slogans from the heritage site.
“Kareng Ghar is one of the very few Centrally-protected monuments in Assam and a symbol of Assam's secular identity. There has been widespread reaction over the action of RSS, an organization which is known to use religion in politics. One of the very few existing monuments created during the 600 year Ahom rule, the Kareng Ghar was earlier damaged due to assault by the British forces after 1826 and also subsequently due to natural calamities. It is now in danger due to lack of proper maintenance by the Archaeological Survey of India and the act of RSS workers who stormed it in large numbers,” writes Saikia.
People of Assam take great pride in their heritage and heritage sites whether it be the Rong Ghar, Kareng Ghar, Talatal Ghar and the Charaideo Maidam (all created during the 600 year of Ahom rule in Assam), Kamakhya Mandir, Azan-Pir-Dargah, Hayagriva Madhava Temple at Hajo all of which are proud symbols of the Assamese identity.
Requesting Sharma to invoke Article 49 of the Constitution of India, Saikia sought a proper legal step from the ministry.
“Given the gravity of the matter and recurrence, I hope you will pass necessary instructions as per law to the concerned authorities and Assam Government to take proper steps to protect the sanctity of the heritage site/s so that the people who imperiled the monument with their unbecoming conduct are taken to task. Proper steps from your end will also contribute to peaceful coexistence of all communities living in Assam and upholding of the secular credentials as enshrined in our Constitution”, stated Saikia in the letter to the Union Minister.
According to the rules of Protected Monuments of Archaeological Survey of India: (1) Whoever destroys, removes, injures, alters, defaces or imperils a protected monument shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees or with both. (2) If someone misuses a protected monument shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to 5000 rupees or with both. (3) If anyone is found destroying, imperiling or misusing a protected monument shall be deemed to be a cognizable offense within the meaning of the code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.
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