Puri: An ancient sculpture of a lion was unearthed during excavation on premises of Emar Mutt near the Jagannath Temple here today.
A portion of the sculpture was reportedly damaged during the digging work.
With discovery of the ancient sculpture inside the campus of historic Emar Mutt, locals as well as intellectuals, who have been consistently objecting Srimandir Parikrama project, alleged the authorities of not undertaking ground-penetrating radar survey before carrying out the digging work at periphery of the centuries old shrine.
Various social and political outfits have been claiming that there are archeological remains adjacent to Srimandir. Opposing the State Government’s much-hyped Srimandir Parikrama project, the political parties including BJP said that the ongoing excavation activities under Puri Heritage Corridor Project will affect the temple.
Raising concern over safety of Srimandir, an intervening petition on ‘illegal digging’ around the temple has also been filed by one Dilip Baral at Orissa High Court.
Recently, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) had urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to halt the construction work in the periphery of Srimandir till disposal of the case in the High Court.
In a letter dated May 13, INTACH reiterated that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has not given permission to the proposed construction of various amenities within the prohibited area of 100 metres around Srimandir and told the court that the excavation works have damaged the archaeological remains around the temple.