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HC to Govt on priceless artefacts File status report on recovery
SRINAGAR, Dec 18: The

High Court has directed

the state government to

file a status report vis-à-vis

steps taken to recover 209

antique items, including

coins it has given on loan

to different museums and

academic institutions.

A committee constituted

by the Court to probe

into affairs in Shri Pratap

Singh (SPS) Museum at

Lal Mandi here has submitted

a report in which

it has said that Government

has failed to trace many

invaluable artifacts which

were stolen over a decade


The Committee has also

revealed that in absence

of preservation measures,

number of priceless artifacts

including paintings,

manuscripts and textile

gallery have been damaged

at SPS museum. The Committee

has also maintained

that hundreds of invaluable

paintings, coins and manuscripts

of immense historical

value loaned to

other museums within and

outside the State are yet to

be retrieved Following the Committee’s report, the Court has directed the State Government and Department of Archaeology to take all steps necessary to restore the damaged manuscripts. It has also directed that some expert agency should be immediately consulted for undertaking the restoration work.

Earlier the Committee was formed by the Court in a Public Interest litigation (PIL) filed by Imdad Saqi general secretary Valley Citizens Council (VCC), who prayed for court directions to facilitate protection and conservation of artifacts, monuments and excavation sites in Kashmir.

The Court had directed constitution of a committee to conduct survey of the available items in the SPS museum and submit a report to the Court. The committee comprised of Deputy Director Achieves Jammu, Curator Dogra Art Museum Jammu and Museum Assistant SPS Museum Srinagar.

The committee recently submitted its report to the Court. The committee has stated that many items including a manuscript of Holy Quran bearing the seal of Emperor Aurangzeb which was stolen on November 11, 2003 is still untraced. “An FIR was lodged and the same has been closed as untraced. The other stolen items depicted in the report include seated wooden Buddha, standing Tara Bronze, a diety, a brass image of Jain Tirthakar seated, one brass image of Buddha seated in earth touching mudra and one standing Buddha from Nagapatnam,” the report reads.

“The survey report highlights some peculiar features which do not leave good taste in mouth. It has come on record that 209 items have been given on loan to Central Asian Museum Kashmir University. Likewise, some items have been given on load to the institutes outside the state like Motilal Nehru Children Museum Lucknow and Shimla Museum. The reports shows that the items like coins of Kashmir, paintings, Sanskrit manuscript, Persian manuscript and old gun were gifted to the Museum which was set up at Shimla. It states that a large number of items were seized by Anti-corruption department,” the court observed after perusing the report. The date of seizure goes back to 01.8.1964. The committee has recommended that steps should be taken to take possession of the seized items.”

In its report to the Court, the Department of Achieves, Archeology and Museums has admitted 22 coins of historical importance have been sent to Shimla Museum.

“Another feature which is depicted by the survey is that the paintings, manuscripts and textile gallery are moth-eaten and badly damaged. All these items need delicate handling for their immediate restoration. To treat all these items with nay worthwhile material experts have to be consulted,” the Court observed.
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News Updated at : Wednesday, December 19, 2012
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