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Former Director, Centre of Central Asian Studies, Dr. Ajaz Ahmad Banday was “surprised’ to see Harwan Tiles at a museum in France”.

On 17 October 1979, stone images and stone fragments related to 10th-11th century AD were discovered from Khurhama (Kupwara). Soon thereafter, there were allegations that some of these objects were pilfered during shifting between the excavation site and the Museum. A criminal case was filed against an officer of the Archives, Archaeology and Museums Department. The missing objects were believed to be of high antique value. As part of the investigation, the Anti-Corruption Department seized 22 objects from the Museum which remained in its custody for 24 years until released on 29 January 2013 through intervention of the court. The case is still undecided even as the accused official has since passed away. Earlier, in 1965, as many as 461 copper coins and one fragment of copper ring were unearthed by one Ghulam Rasool Kumar from his private land at Kulgam in South Kashmir. He refused to part with the treasure when the government asked him to handover the find. The matter went to the Court of Munsif (Magistrate) Kulgam which seized the coins in connection with case titled State v/s Ghulam Rasool Kumar and Others. The artefacts are still in the custody of the court despite repeated requests for their release.

Illegal trafficking of priceless objects has slowly depleted heritage reserves of Kashmir. The long........

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