Yamunanagar: A village panchayat has passed a resolution demanding return of the historic Ashokan period pillar, believed to have been taken from there by Feroz Shah Tughlak seven hundred years ago to Delhi and installed at the Feroz Shah Kotla fort. The pillar is considered rarest among Ashokan relics and it bears seven edicts. These edicts were decided by a British archaeologist, James Prinsep in 1837. Famous archaeologist Alexander Cunningham confirmed that the pillar was brought from Topra Kalan village (Amabala). Topra was an important trade centre on the Mathura- Texila (now in Pakistan) route. The panchayat has decided to send a copy of the resolution to the President, Prime Minister and Haryana chief minister. Village sarpanch Ramkali said: “If India can demand return of the Kohinoor diamond, why can’t the village ask for the return of the pillar to maintain its identity?” A Yamunanagar-based NGO, Buddhist Forum, has prepared a proposal to develop a heritage park on a common village land. “We have submitted our plan with the Yamunanagar deputy commissioner,” said Forum activist Sidhartha Gauri.
A Sri Lankan spiritual leader Janaka Edirisinghe had recently visited the proposed site of the heritage park. The monk assured villagers that he would discuss the plan with Buddhist countries to support the efforts of villagers. Edirisinghe suggested setting up a trust such as the one in Lumbini in which spiritual leaders of Buddhist countries are trustees.