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India expresses 'grave concern' over vandalism of ancient Buddhist rock carvings in Gilgit Baltistan

ANI | Updated: Jun 03, 2020 21:20 IST

New Delhi [India], June 3 (ANI): India on Wednesday expressed grave concern over reports of vandalism of ancient Buddhist rock carvings in Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan region, saying the "egregious activity which displays contempt for the ancient civilisational and cultural heritage" is highly condemnable.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) called upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all illegally occupied territories and end the gross violation of the political, economic, and cultural rights of people living there.
"It is a matter of grave concern that Buddhist symbols are being destroyed and the religious and cultural rights and freedoms are being trampled with impunity in the Indian territories under illegal occupation of Pakistan," MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
Buddhist rock carvings in the Chilas area of Gilgit-Baltistan were found to be vandalised.
According to the photos circulating online, slogans and the Pakistani flag were painted over the carvings.
Srivastava said that New Delhi seeks immediate access for its experts to the area in order to restore and preserve the invaluable archaeological heritage.
"Egregious activities of this nature which display contempt for the ancient civilisational and cultural heritage are highly condemnable. We have sought immediate access for its experts to the area in order to restore and preserve this invaluable archaeological heritage," Srivastava said.
"We have once again called upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all illegally occupied territories and end the gross violation of political, economic and cultural rights of people living there," he further said. (ANI)

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