Site of Annigeri skulls find sold
A man who has claimed ownership of the piece of land at Annigeri in Navalgund taluk where a large number of skulls were discovered during an excavation last year has sold it, even as the district administration and the Archaeology Survey of India (ASI) are corresponding with international institutions to determine the circumstances in which the skulls were buried.
The deal, struck on the sly without the authorities getting wind of it, has shocked many historians, who have expressed discontent over the district administration and the ASI failing to protect the site where hundreds of skulls were found in a mass grave.
The site was sold on January 2 to a private party and the sale deed was registered at the office of the sub-registrar at Navalgund.
Interestingly, the sub-registrar had shown negligence in evaluating the importance of the site and didn’t bring it to the notice of the tahsildar before registering the property.
Deputy Commissioner Darpan Jain had announced that the area was declared protected and steps had been taken to preserve the site by fencing the area.
The Department of Archaeology and Museums, seized of the task of dating the skulls, was busy corresponding with Forensic Science Laboratory, Ahmedabad, for a series of tests and had withheld its final report on the findings as the skulls had not been dated conclusively.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, officials at the Department of Archaeology and Museums have requested Dharwad district administration on Friday to initiate immediate steps to acquire the site, an official refusing to be named said.
“The department is ready to buy the property and protect it. It is a pity that the local officials of the Revenue Department allowed the sale. They should not have allowed the registration of the sale deed,” the official said.
Signboard put up
When his attention was drawn to the department’s announcement last year that the area was protected, the official said a signboard was installed, but the department was not sure about the owner of the property. However, the process of acquisition was done by the Revenue Department.
The site was already damaged as drainage was constructed and the area had been dug unscientifically, they added.
Darpan Jain, who was in Bangalore to attend a meeting, told Deccan Herald over the phone that the land was private property and the sub-registrar had not brought the land transaction to his notice before registering the sale. Moreover, neither the district administration nor the ASI had raised any objection to the registration.
The change of ownership, however, will not pose any problem for its acquisition by the ASI or the government, Jain said.
Author: Srinidhi R, Dharwad | Source: Deccan Herald [January 08, 2012]