J&K HC entertains PIL on heritage protection

Entertaining a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on protection and conservation of artefacts, monuments and excavation site, Jammu and Kashmir High Court has given two weeks time to respondents to show their response in the matter. A division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice K S Radhikrishnan and Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir gave two weeks time in the open court, as no counsel for the respondents was present. Valley Citizen Council (VCC) General Secretary Imdad Saqi through a team of counsels, including Touseef Ahmad Khan, Adil Mushtaq Banday and Tufail Qadri, had filed the petition, seeking appropriate directions for the protection and conservation of artifacts monuments and excavation sites. Adovcate Khan said copies of the petition and other documents had already been submitted in the court for the respondents. Besides Jammu and Kashmir and Central governments, the petition had made respondents Archaeological Survey of India, Archaeological department, Srinagar, Language, J&K Art and cultural academy and department Archaeology and archives university of Kashmir. The petition said a century old SPS museum was in such a pathetic condition that the artefacts it houses can hardly survive the threats of time. It further added the treasure hunters and robbers plunder the museum whenever a chance comes their way and the articles which are away from their evil eyes have now fallen prey to rust and decay. Mr Saqi museum houses some exceptionally rare Hindu sculptures from second to seventh century, the petition said, adding the canons of Dogra period were subjected to weathering by scattering them in the museum garden without any protection. The other such archaeological finds include a 4th century bronze frame depicting all incarnations of Lord Vaishnue, a massive fourth century Shivalingam and numerous old coins and weaponry. The legacy of Kashmir’s ancient and medieval past will be wiped off if the present situation is not brought under control. The petition allege the 84 rare coins were also missing from the SPS museum. The petitioner further alleged about 8 gold and 76 silver coins were also reported to be missing, while the remaining coins were stored in an unscientific and insecure procedure. If further stated another very serious and socially sentimental artefact missing was the 400-year-old replica of the Holy Quran believed to be handwritten by Mugal Emperor Aurangzeb with an ink blended with gold and saffron.


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