Ancient monument preservation law being violated

Kathmandu, November 3

Bhaktapur Municipality has been found to be pasting notices and citizen’s charter at a corner of Mangal Dharmadip Mahabihar Jhurbahi, a Buddhist shrine located next to the municipal office building, in Bhaktapur.

As per the Ancient Monument Preservation Act 1956, the pasting of materials, such as  pamphlets, notices and leaflets at a heritage site is a punishable act. “Despite the legal restriction, some people and organisations tend to put up such materials at heritage sites out of ignorance,” said Shyam Sundar Rajbansi, section officer at National Archaeological Department.

“The protection of cultural heritages is a major responsibility of local levels, but the municipality itself has disobeyed the law,” said Gyanendra Khaiju, a social media user.

On his social media status with a photo of the Buddhist shrine, he said, “The municipality needs to find some other place to display its notices and citizen’’s charter, rather than pasting it on the wall of a cultural monument.”

Commenting on his post, one Arjun Konda wrote: “The problem is everywhere. Other government offices are also found doing the same.”

Another user named Ravi Manandhar commented: “Bhaktapur Municipality really needs  to look back at it.”

Talking to THT, Bikal Manandhar, a local of Bhaktapur, informed that the municipality published such notices at the heritage site time and again although locals had warned the municipality against it.

A Mahabihar Jhurbahi  is a religious place for Buddhists, inside which Dipankar Buddha, one of the five Buddhas worshipped by the Bajracharyas of Newar community is kept.

Krishna Chandra Bajracharya, priest of the Mahabihar Jhurbahi said,“The notices were for public purpose, so we allowed the municipality to put them up. If the notices were for private purpose, we would not have allowed that. But we have not asked the municipality to remove them as they are for public purpose.”

Dilip Kumar Suwal, chief of the sanitation section of the municipality said, “We have been campaigning to make people aware that cleanliness should be maintained at the site. If the municipality has pasted any  material such as notices at the monument site, we will remove them soon,” he said.