Taxila - The remains of a Buddhist site Sirkap are being turned into a gambling den, as a large number of gamblers gather there daily for gambling.

It is observed that scores of the people gather for gambling at the Buddhist site of Sirkap, which is also known as city of the ancient Taxila Civilisation and is located in the suburbs of Taxila. Most of the gamblers belong to adjacent villages including Dhabian, Gango, Mohara Shah Wali Shah, Mohra Maliran, and Shahpur.

Even students from nearby University of Engineering and Technology (UET) gather there to take part in this social evil at evening and when police approach there they hide themselves into ruins.

An owner of a gambling den, requesting anonymity, said he receives bets mostly from the youth. “Influential people gamble millions of rupees, while the poor can quench their evil thirst by Rs 50,” he said. The losers usually come back whenever they have more money to try their luck.

An operator of a local gambling den said that compulsive gamblers never lose heart and continue visiting the dens to change their fortunes overnight. It has also been learnt that the youth involved in traditional gambling methods also bet on cricket matches played there.

“I have been betting on cricket matches for many months and I have lost only a few times. It is not a good thing to do but it is a little entertainment for me,” said a student of the UET.

He said that due to lack of any entrainment activity in the university and the city they have turned into betting which is not only an adventurous activity but they also earn money.

Another gambler wishing anonymity said that he bet in open in group of 5 to 10 people at the upper part of Sirkap. “Whenever we see some suspicious activity by police or officials of archaeology department, we escape in nearby remains where we cannot be traced out,” he said.

Imran Ali, another professional gambler, said that he bet on the football and cricket matches played there and even police could not arrest them as cops had no proof of any illegal activity against them. He admitted that a number of people spoiled their future due to gambling, as they stole money or precious items from their homes to get more money but at last they had nothing to bet. Malik Tahir Suleman, a social worker of the area, confirmed the illegal activity going on in the area.

He urged police and other authorities to take action against this activity and save the youth of the area.