Srinagar: The High Court has directed personal appearance of the Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, investigating the theft of a copy of the Holy Quran, bearing the seal of Emperor Aurangzeb from Shri Pratap Singh (SPS) Museum here in 2003.
The direction by a division bench comprising Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Justice BS Walia followed submissions by senior Additional Advocate General NA Beigh that the crime branch has filed a closure report before the competent court and closed the case registered under FIR No. 106/2003 in Police Station Rajbagh as “untraced.”
Expressing displeasure with the status report, the court directed the investigating officer (SP) to appear before it on the next date of hearing.
The High Court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by a Srinagar based social organisation, Valley Citizen’s Council, seeking directions for the protection and conservation of artifacts, monuments and excavation sites in Kashmir besides directions to find the manuscript of the Quran.
Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal Emperor, ruled over most of the Indian subcontinent during his reign, which lasted for 49 years from 1658 until his death in 1707.
The PIL was filed in 2008 and judicial intervention has already led to retrieval of 31 copper and silver coins besides one-gun bearing accession number 412 along with other artifacts from Research Wing of the SPS libraries, which were gifted to Shimla Museum in 1973.
The other artifacts include a Persian manuscript, Mughazi-ul-Nabi- by Sheikh Yaqoob Sarfi (RA), a 19th century Sharda Manuscript Panchratna by Krishna Pandit, and an 18th century painting by Swachanda Bhairva.
The Kashmir University, through Director Central Asian Museum, also handed over 209 objects which were transferred to the varsity on August 25, 1980 from SPS Museum.