Bhubaneswar: A book reading programme by international famed historian-writer William Dalrymple has mired in a controversy.

The Odisha tourism department is organising a book reading session with author Dalrymple at Mukteswar Temple, here on Friday.

Eminent historian and Intac member Anil Dhir has lodged a complaint with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) against this show of Odisha Tourism and Dalrymple.

Dhir, in a letter to Usha Sharma, director general of ASI, New Delhi, has stated that Mukteswar Temple, being a protected monument of the ASI, can not be used for commercial purpose. Pointing out that the show is aimed at promoting Dalrymple’s new book Nine Lives published by Bloomsbuery.

Dhir has also filed a complaint with the police against the programme in the Mukteswar Temple premises.

“It is purely a private affairs with commercial interest”, said Dhir questioning how come the ASI has given permission for such activities in the premises of a temple of archaeological importance. It is against the ASI and national laws, he pointed out adding, it also violates the Odisha Ancient Monument Preservation Act 1956.