High Court directs Joint Inspection of Kanlog cemetery in Shimla
Shimla, May 18
In a significant development, the High Court of Himachal Pradesh has directed the Heritage Committee, constituted by the Government of Himachal Pradesh, to conduct a joint inspection of the heritage cemetery located in Kanlog, Shimla. The court’s order comes in response to a petition filed by local residents, who alleged the destruction of the revered Kanlog Cemetery.
The Division Bench, consisting of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Virender Singh, passed the order, instructing the committee to file a status report regarding the violation of the interim development plan. Additionally, the committee is expected to identify any potential violations of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
According to the petitioners, Kanlog Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in the country, with graves dating back to 1850. This sacred location holds immense national significance and serves as the final resting place for individuals of both Christian and Parsi faiths, including numerous historically important figures. The petitioners argue that the cemetery was intended to be preserved and maintained as a prime heritage and historical site. However, unauthorized activities have caused significant damage to the site in recent years.
The petitioners further alleged that the responsibility of the cemetery’s maintenance was assumed by the Poster and his trust. However, private interests have seemingly taken precedence over preservation efforts, resulting in unauthorized construction that has compromised the site’s integrity. Historic gates and fences, which held great value, have been dismantled and replaced with unsightly metal sheets, obstructing visibility.
As a result, the High Court has imposed several restrictions. No construction or parking of vehicles will be allowed at the heritage site, and no private or religious functions may be organized until further notice.
To ensure compliance with the court’s orders, the Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority in Shimla has been directed to personally visit the site and submit a status report before the next date of hearing, scheduled for May 31, 2023.
This directive by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh underscores the importance of preserving and protecting the cultural and historical heritage sites of the region.
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