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Ancient statue of Jain Tirthankar found in Arang: On the demand of Jain community, Collector gave permission to take it to Dongargarh, now local residents are protesting

Raipur. Arang is called the city of temples in Chhattisgarh. Arang is recognized because of the ancient and rare statues and historical heritage found in Arang, the capital of King Mordhwaj. But for the last few days, something like this has been happening in Arang Nagar which has neither been seen nor heard anywhere till now. In fact, in September 2021, during the deepening of Andhiyar Khop pond of Arang, a beautiful statue of an ancient and rare Jain Tirthankar was found. Which the townspeople have preserved in the Bhanddeval temple protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. But administrative pressure has arisen to take away this ancient and rare idol from Arang.

There has been a demand to take the idol by the Jain community of Dongargarh. On which Raipur District Administration, the then Collector Sarveshwar Bhure issued an order to hand over the idol to Jain Society Dongargarh. After the local people of Arang became aware of the order, there is opposition to the Collector's order. Many social organizations have also written letters to the concerned department opposing this order. But due to administrative pressure, the idol could not be stopped from being taken to Dongargarh. People say that Arang is recognized because of the ancient statues, remains and historical heritage here. If this ancient idol goes away from here, then any society will demand the same and take away many idols from here. It is unfair to take away cultural heritage without the consent of the citizens.

Order issued by the Collector

History experts say that citing the provisions of the Nikhat Nidhi Act 1878, the Collector has issued an order to give this ancient idol to the Jain community for worship. Whereas in this Act, there is no power given to the Collector to give the archaeological heritage of the country to any person or society for worship. It is also wrong to transport heritage sites of archaeological importance.

As far as possible, statues or objects of archaeological importance are kept at the same place from where they are found or in the museum of the nearest archeology department for safety and conservation. But this is not happening in the case of Arang. It is noteworthy that earlier also many ancient statues kept in Arang police station have been taken to other places. There is no confirmed information about which till date. If this sequence continues, question marks will be raised on the historicity of Arang itself. The residents of the city demand that the government should cancel the erroneous order of the Raipur Collector and take necessary steps to protect the heritage of Arang and build a museum in Arang itself.

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