Preserve monuments, protect artifacts, HC tells state

Preserve monuments, protect artifacts, HC tells state
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SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Tuesday closed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) related to protection of monuments and artifacts of the state with a direction to authorities to give adequate care to security and safety of artifacts and monuments.
The court observed that authorities need to preserve and protect the artifacts and monumental sites left in the state.
The court closed down the PIL after it was informed by state counsel that all the issues necessary for preservation and safety of the artifacts have been dealt by government.
The PIL was filed in 2008 by a Srinagar based social organisation’ Valley Citizens Council’, seeking protection and conservation of artifacts, monuments and excavation sites in Kashmir besides directions to find the manuscript of an Aurangzeb-era copy of the Holy Quran which was stolen along other prized articles from the museum in 2003.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe while closing the PIL remarked that state needs to work for preservation of the monumental sites and safety of Artifacts.
Chief Justice, Gita Mittal observed that historical significance of heritage sites and artifacts cannot be taken for a ride.
“We are identified by our historical background and it is necessary that every effort be put in for their preservation and protection,” CJ Mittal said.
The court further remarked that we have lost treasure in the shape of 400 year old Quran as counsel for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Tahir Majid Shamsi informed court that investigating agency has already submitted closure report into the FIR (No.106/2003) before Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Srinagar as the theft of the manuscript couldn’t be traced and remained ‘inconclusive’.
“We cannot let our artifacts stolen, we have to preserve and protect them to save our own identity and culture.”
The 400-year-old copy of holy Quran written by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb went missing from Sri Pratap Singh (SPS) Museum in Srinagar, actually in 2003, but the fact came to the light in 2007, after which an FIR was lodged in Police Station Rajbagh. Furthermore a three-member committee headed by the deputy director of the department was constituted to probe into the issue but they couldn’t find anything.
Later in 2015, J&K high Court handed the probe to CBI after Crime Branch failed to solve the case but the CBI has finally closed the case as ‘inconclusive’
However, the judicial intervention on the PIL has 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.