Theft of Qur'an with Aurangzeb seal in 2003: HC seeks case records

Theft of Qur'an with Aurangzeb seal in 2003: HC seeks case records

A division bench of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey called related records of the case from the Court of Forest Magistrate, where the probe agency has filed the closure report of the case as “untraced.”

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has sought records and personal appearance of investigating officer in a case related to theft of artifacts, including copy of the Holy Qur’an bearing the seal of Emperor Aurangzeb, from Sri Pratap Singh (SPS) Museum here in 2003.

A division bench of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey called related records of the case from the Court of Forest Magistrate, where the probe agency has filed the closure report of the case as “untraced.”

“Meanwhile, registry to send for entire record of case FIR no. 106/2003 police station Rajbagh from the court of forest magistrate,” the bench said.

The court directions followed after the submissions by two officers from Crime Branch – SSP Shahid Mehraj and Additional SP Aftab Ahmad Mir – that the investigation of the case ( FIR No. 106/2003) registered  in Police Station Rajbagh was conducted by one Maqsood Beigh who is presently posted with State Human Rights Commission.

Posting the case on June 3, the bench directed Beigh to remain present on that day before it. The court however exempted personal appearance of Shahid and Aftab till further orders.

In year 2003, a Holy Qur’an bearing the seal of Emperor Aurangzeb was reported missing from the SPS Museum and an FIR was lodged by the Department in Police Station Rajbagh. Subsequently, investigation of the case was handed over to Crime Branch.

With High Court directions on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Valley Citizens Council (VCC) seeking return of the gifted items, a collection of old artifacts is finally back to Kashmir Museum after 53 years from Shimla Museum.

In 1962, a murky deal between unconcerned political and opportunist bureaucratic circles led to transfer of artifacts from Jammu and Kashmir to Himachal Pradesh. The collection includes 31 copper and silver coins from Mughal and Sultanate period, one Persian manuscript Mughazi-ul-Nabi (SAW) by Sheikh Yaqoob Sarfi (RA), one 19th century Sharda Manuscript Pancratna by Krishna Pandit, one Dogra-era Gun and an 18th century painting by Swachanda Bhairva.

  The SPS Museum has also received back 209 objects that were transferred to Central Asian Museum, University of Kashmir, on August 25, 1980. Moreover, 461 and one copper fragment ring recovered from Kulgam in 1965 were deposited in SPS Museum Srinagar.

However, 25 coins gifted or transferred to Moti Lal Nehru Children Centre Lucknow have not been retrieved yet.