400 year old manuscript of holy Quran remains untraced

HC closes PIL, asks Govt to take adequate steps in future to preserve archaeological sites, artefacts

D A RASHID
Srinagar, Publish Date: Oct 17 2018 1:43AM | Updated Date: Oct 17 2018 3:03AM
400 year old manuscript of holy Quran remains untracedRepresentational Pic

The High Court on Tuesday directed the government to preserve the archaeological sites and artefacts in Jammu and Kashmir. 

While closing a Public Interest Litigation petition seeking probe into the theft of artefacts including a 400-year old handwritten copy of holy Quran by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb from SPS Museum Srinagar in 2003, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe directed the government to take adequate steps in future to preserve the archaeological sites and the artefacts. 

While the state counsel B A Dar informed the court that the state government has taken measures to preserve the artefacts available in SPS Museum, senior advocate R A Jan prayed before the court that directions be issued with regard to preservation of artefacts in future. 

The Bench held that in future if any act could be detrimental to the preservation of archaeological sites and artefacts, it would be open for any person to invoke jurisdiction of the court in this regard. 

In September 2016, the High Court had handed over the investigation of the case related to theft of the 400 year old manuscript of holy Quran from SPS museum here to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). 

In August this year, the CBI had closed investigation of a case as untraced saying the probe was handicapped on account of the fact that there was a delay of more than 13 years between the date of incident and handing over of the investigation to it. 

The central agency said non-lifting of fingerprint samples from the crime scene and absence of photograph of the stolen manuscript with the Museum proved impediment for its investigation. 

The CBI also attributed failure to trace the holy Quran to non-existing records in the Museum which it said are stated to have lost during 2004 floods. 

In 2003, a case (FIR 106/2003) was registered at police station Rajbagh in connection with missing of artefacts— manuscript of holy Quran and 84 coins - from the SPS museum.

In the Public Interest Litigation petition filed by Valley Citizens Council, the latter had sought directions for the protection and conservation of artefacts, monuments and excavation sites in Kashmir.

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