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HC: Land record details can’t stop archaeological work Asks Sirsa Residents To Vacate Land For Tracing Ancient Mound

October 06, 2018 05:58 AM

COURTESY TOI OCT 6

HC: Land record details can’t stop archaeological work
Asks Sirsa Residents To Vacate Land For Tracing Ancient Mound
Ajay.Sura@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

The state government can tell residents to vacate a piece of land for archaeological excavation even if the land is part of revenue records. This has been stated by the Punjab and Haryana high court in a recent order, while asking residents of a locality in Sirsa to vacate a piece of land so that excavation can be done on what is known as the ancient ‘Ther’ mound.


The mound is believed to hold ruins of an earlier avatar of Sirsa – Sarishika – which finds mention in the Mahabharata and ancient Buddhist texts among others. It is believed to date back to the 5th century. The site is believed to be buried deep in the ground. So far, archaeologists have found stone sculptures and other relics.

The court said that it can’t limit the site’s value by binding it to revenue records and said that those occupying the land must vacate it. The division bench headed by Justice Mahesh Grover and Justice Mahabir Sindhu even suggested to residents to voluntarily give up their claim and take another site for rehabilitation.

The bench passed these orders while dismissing an application filed by several residents who said that the area occupied by them fell in a different khasra number (revenue record) than the one identified for excavation.

“We are clearly of the opinion that no orders of restraint are warranted,” the order read. “Rather it would be in the interest of the applicants themselves if they voluntarily give up their claim to obtain the benefit of allotment of an alternate site regarding their own rehabilitation. We possibly cannot limit the site intended for archaeological excavation by binding it to the revenue records alone as excavation necessarily invites a free operational area. Even otherwise if excavation is carried out in the vicinity, it can prove hazardous to the people residing there.”

The issue reached the court after it took suo motu cognizance of encroachments on archaeological sites and around places with heritage value in Haryana. Following the judges’ intervention, the district administration swung into action and started removing encroachments.

In April, the court had directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to start excavation at Ther and district officials had said that around 25 acres had been freed of encroachments.

The court has also been informed by the deputy commissioner of Hisar that the tender to provide houses and other infrastructure to those who had removed from an excavation site in Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Shahpur villages, was opened on September 14

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