26 rare artifacts stolen, museum mum
Mon, Jul 5th, 2010 12:48 am BdST
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Dhaka, July 4 (bdnews24.com)– At least 26 medals and coins of History and Classical Fine Arts Department under Gallery 21 of National Museum have been stolen.
The museum’s deputy keeper Nure Nasrin, assistant keeper AKM Saifuzzaman and three security personnel have been temporarily suspended over the incident.
Museum secretary Alam Ara filed a case with Shahbagh Police Station on June 26 though the case did not specify when the theft took place.
On June 2, the museum filed a general diary with Shahbagh police citing that 26 artifacts have been stolen but then the GD also bore no date of occurrence.
Allegations are there that the museum is trying to maintain strict secrecy to hush it up.
When asked about the matter, security chief Sultan Mahmud and head of History and Classical Fine Arts Department Swapan Kumar Biswas pleaded their ignorance saying that they have been asked not to talk about the matter.
Museum’s director general Prakash Chandra Das was not available at his office despite having an appointment with this correspondent.
Investigation officer of the case and Shahbagh police sub-inspector Abdur Rahim told bdnews24.com that investigation would end soon. He declined to elaborate in the interest of the investigation.
Rahim said no one has been arrested.
bdnews24.com understands that the museum has formed a three-member probe committee, which had been asked to report within seven working days.
In the report, the committee after watching an obscure and incomplete video footage of 2005 mentioned that the number of stolen medals and coins were about 26.
But they could not say the ‘exact number’.
The History and Classical Fine Arts Department did not provide any relevant authentic information to the probe committee. On top of that, the report stated that the information was not available with the records of the security branch.
Sufi Mostafizur Rahman, professor of Department of Anthropology at Jahangirnagar University, told bdnews24.com, “The account of the museum’s collection is usually kept at several places. There is no scope to say that it is missing. And in the case of the National Museum, it is unimaginable.”
The probe report blamed deputy keeper Nure Nasrin, assistant keeper AKM Saifuzzaman for their negligence.
The bdnews24.com correspondent found that the Gallery 21 on the first floor had collection of coins dating back to 1985-1942 in its 3462 showcase but some niches were found empty.
There was evidence of coins having been deliberately removed from the niches.
Professor Rahman said, “All collections of museum are priceless. They cannot be purchased in exchange for money.”
“Considering their importance, the museum’s collections have to be properly preserved as the valuable treasures once lost cannot be regained,” Rahman said.