India demands immediate access to restore ‘vandalized’ Buddhist structures in Gilgit-Baltistan

A week after images of vandalized Buddhist carvings surfaced on social media, India sought immediate access to the area in Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan where Buddhist archaeological sites have been destroyed for its expert team to restore vandalized structures.
“We have conveyed our strong concern at reports of vandalism, defacement and destruction of invaluable Indian Buddhist heritage located in so called “Gilgit-Baltistan” area of the Indian territory under illegal and forcible occupation of Pakistan,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Wednesday.
Srivastava said “egregious activities” of this nature which display contempt for the ancient civilizational and cultural heritage are “highly condemnable”.
“It is a matter of grave concern that the 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,” he said.
Replying to a media query on the issue, Srivastava said that India has sought immediate access for its experts to visit the area and restore the archaeological site.
“We have sought immediate access for our experts to the area in order to restore and preserve this invaluable archaeological heritage. We have once again called upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all illegally occupied territories and end gross violation of political, economic and cultural rights of people living there,” he emphasized.
As per reports, the paintings and carvings, which date back to 800 AD, have been painted on by Pakistani flags and slogans.