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ASI: J&K LG’s puja at Martand temple was in violation of rules | India News

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NEW DELHI: A puja, attended by Jammu & Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha at the premises of the Archaeological Survey of India-protected Martand Sun temple in Kashmir’s Anantnag, was in violation of rules and the issue has been raised with the UT administration, ASI officials said on Monday. The J&K administration, however, rejected the ASI’s claims.
A day after Sinha took part in a puja at the ancient temple’s premises, ASI officials said no permission was sought from the conservation body for the prayers. “The district administration has been sent a message that it is a violation of our rules. No permission was sought from us for the prayers. The LG did not hold the prayers inside the temple, but outside it. However, even that is a violation,” an ASI official said on condition of anonymity.
ASI officials said Sinha’s visit violated rule 7(1) of the 1959 Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act under which meetings, receptions, parties, entertainment or conferences can’t be held at a protected monument without permission in writing from the Centre.
The J&K administration on Monday made it clear that no permission was required for Sinha to conduct a puja at the temple. Anantnag deputy commissioner Piyush Singhla said the event was allowed under rule 7(2) of the Act, which states “nothing in sub-rule (1) shall apply to any meeting, reception, party, conference or entertainment, which is held in pursuance of a recognised religious usage or custom”.

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