Muslim encroachers have illegally occupied the ancient Raja Yayati fort premises at Jajmau hills in Kanpur. The negligence of ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) under whose aegis the fort comes has encouraged encroachers to squat on the historically important structure.
Muslim encroachers on Raja Yayati Fort
The Raja Yayati fort premises, that falls under the purview of ASI, has become a hub of illegal encroachers who enjoy police protection as well as political support. Four years ago there had been attempts to rid the place of encroachers after complaints had been raised about the illegal encroachments.
However, the attempts turned out to be futile owing to the covert and overt support enjoyed by the encroachers. Moreover, both the ASI and KDA (Kanpur Development Authority) have conveniently looked the other way instead of taking action against the illegal occupants.
Located along the banks of river Ganga, the Jajmau Tila atop which the fort sits has great historical significance. It once housed the royal palace of Raja Yayati. It was brought under the aegis of ASI on 28 February 1968. Artefacts belonging to 1200-1300 centuries have been unearthed here during excavation work undertaken at Jajmau for constructing the Gangapul.
5 bigha out of the 16 bigha area has been illegally encroached upon by a land mafia named Pappu Smart and his family members. Reports state that the encroachers have erected a huge wall with a massive gate and several people have been settled here. Additionally, the land around the area has also been illegally sold off by Pappu’s associates.
Advocate Sandip Shukla had registered a complaint with the Chakeri Police Station in 2017. Following his complaint, the matter with respect to illegal occupation by Muslim encroachers came to light.
There were demands from citizens to rid the fort of illegal encroachers but their pleas fell on deaf ears. The matter was subsequently suppressed and the ASI also neglected the site. Upper Nagar Magistrate PC Lal Srivastav had submitted a report in the matter to the District Magistrate (DM) on 7 May 2018.
In his report, Srivastav has mentioned that attempts have been to tamper with the documents and the name of one Sharif Khan son of Bhaktawar Khan was tried to be included in the document.
The ancient fort that was supposed to be protected was allowed not just to be occupied illegally but the Muslim encroachers were also given a free hand to unearth and destroy ancient treasures. It is unfortunate that only one Hindu temple stands on the fort today.
Dr. Rajashekar of the Kanpur circle said that the Archaeological department should coordinate with the local administration and police to get the illegal encroachers removed.
Muslim encroachers smuggle ancient historical artefacts
Reports have also emerged about the encroachers smuggling precious artefacts from the Raja Yayati fort and selling off these invaluable national assets for crores of rupees. After receiving intelligence reports in relation to the smuggling of artefacts, the state archaeology department has alerted the police and written a letter to the DM regarding the encroachments.
Valuable artefacts dating back to 2800 years are buried in the fort and must be afforded protection. It has now come to light that a gang of smugglers has joined hands with the illegal encroachers and has been steadily smuggling these artefacts that are being sold at high prices.
Kanpur History Committee General Secretary Anup Shukla said that the fort has been illegally occupied since a long time now. He stated that two decades back when he had surveyed the fort along with CM Bahal, they found that those who had raised hutments in the fort were using ancient artefacts that the encroachers had unearthed in the fort premises.
Dainik Jagran says that there have been information regarding discovery of ancient gold and silver coins. The state archaeology department has supposedly asked the district administration to rid the fort of encroachments.
Police Commissioner Aseem Arun informed the media that they have received the state archaeology department’s letter regarding illegal squatters in the fort. He further said that the police would coordinate with the district administration to get the encroachments removed and at the same time action would also be initiated against those involved in smuggling valuable artefacts.
(Featured Image Source: Dainik Jagran)