HC seeks details on Kashmir excavation sites, heritage monuments

“If such an inventory with photographs has been prepared, a copy of the same be shown to this court and another copy be filed in a sealed cover which shall be retained by this court”.

D A RASHID
Srinagar, Publish Date: May 20 2017 1:06AM | Updated Date: May 20 2017 1:06AM
HC seeks details on Kashmir excavation sites, heritage monumentsFile Photo

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the state government to furnish details on excavation sites and heritage monuments of Kashmir even as it ordered immediate preparing of inventory of all artifacts housed in SPS Museum here along with photographs.

Seeking status report by June 7, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Badder Durraz Ahmad and Ali Muhammad Magrey asked the authorities concerned to provide details about various excavations sites in Kashmir with their status besides a list of heritage monuments.

The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by a social organization, Valley Citizens Council, seeking directions for the protection and conservation of artifacts, monuments and excavation sites in Kashmir. 

While the bench was apprised that the SPS museum had been shifted to a newly constructed building that houses all the artifacts now, it sought to know through a status report whether the inventory of all the artifacts in the museum was prepared along with photographs or not.

“If such an inventory with photographs has been prepared, a copy of the same be shown to this court and another copy be filed in a sealed cover which shall be retained by this court”.   

The court said that inventory of the artifacts be prepared immediately if it has not been done so far.  

The court also sought information on whether proper security was in place to ensure no pilferage or theft of valuable artifacts from the museum and if CCTV cameras were installed and are functional.   

Meanwhile the court requested Senior Advocate R A Jan who was present in the court to assist as an Amicus Curie in the matter. He accepted the request. 

In 2003, a case (FIR 106/2003) in connection with missing of artifacts -- Manuscript of holy Quran which is believed to have been hand written by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and 84 coins - from the SPS museum was registered at Police Station Rajbagh.

The High Court subsequently handed over the probe to Crime Branch of J&K Police.   

On September 22, 2015, High Court had handed over the case related to theft of holy Quran handwritten by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and other artifacts of historical importance from SPS museum for probe to CBI. The investigation of the case was handed over to the central probe agency with the observation that CB Kashmir had failed to solve the case.

The SPS museum authorities claim that some of the artifacts have been retrieved from various places.