//ASI restoring 3 monuments damaged in Gujarat riots

ASI restoring 3 monuments damaged in Gujarat riots

Monday, 06 March , 2006, 10:45

Ahmedabad: As the victims of the Gujarat riots try to get over horrifying memories of the communal frenzy, which left indelible marks on their psyche, the Archaeological Survey of India is erasing the tell-tale marks of damage inflicted by the mobs on the ancient monuments—especially those belonging to the Mughal era.

Experts have been working non-stop to restore the archaeological monuments that bore the brunt of frenzied mobs.

According to statistics available, over 250 places of worship of Muslim community across the state were damaged during the riots, including the famous Noorani Masjid in Nroda-Patiya area of Ahmedabad.

The Gujarat chapter of the ASI has been working since 2002 for restoring the three important monuments, which were damaged during the riots that broke out on February 28, 2002 after 59 karsevaks onboard the Sabarmati Express train were killed near Godhra railway station in Panchmahals district.

While the ASI has been handling only three major monuments that fall under their list of protected structures, NGOs and wealthy individuals of the minority community have also tried to chip in with funds for restoring important mosques and tombs scarred by the communal riots.

The monuments taken up by the ASI include one dating back to the early 15th century—the unique "small stone mosque" at Ishanpur area in Ahmedabad city.

"The rioters had completely damaged Ishanpur mosque. Miscreants also used a bulldozer to damage the structure. It has been quite a task to rebuild the mosque and restore its old glory," state ASI Director Dr Shivanad V Rao said.