Customs To Hand Over Medieval-Era 'Khanjars' To ASI Today

Customs To Hand Over Medieval-Era 'Khanjars' To ASI Today

"The Mughal-era khanjars were seized in 2003 while being smuggled from Mumbai airport to Europe."

Dharmesh ThakkarUpdated: Thursday, February 29, 2024, 07:02 PM IST
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Mumbai, February 29: The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) will hand over rare relics and artefacts seized by customs officials over the years at various airports and customs stations to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Thursday afternoon. A total of 101 antiquities will be handed over to zonal units of the ASI at seven cities across the country: Mumbai, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Delhi, Guwahati and Pune.

Mumbai airport will hand over a collection of seven medieval era ‘khanjars’ (decorative daggers with sheath) from the 16th century. “The Mughal-era khanjars were seized in 2003 while being smuggled from Mumbai airport to Europe. Both the dagger blade and sheath are decorated in floral and leaf design works of Meenakari style and the three leaf patterns are decorated in Koftgiri style with silver wire inlayed and gilded on surface,” a customs official said.

Buddha Stone Statue Among Antiquities:

A rare Buddha stone statue, believed to be from the 11th century, and four other antique items that are more than 200 years old, intercepted by customs authorities minutes before being shipped out from Bengaluru to Copenhagen, Denmark, will also be handed over to the ASI.

The antiquities — the stone Buddha, a bronze mask, a wooden horse, and wooden statues of a couple — were part of a consignment containing eight artefacts that were booked as contemporary artefacts by a Danish national.

The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972 prohibits the export or trade of antiques and makes it illegal for any person other than authorised Indian government representatives or agencies to export any antiquity or art treasure from the country.

Another stone Buddha sculpture dating back to 2CE-3CE was seized by the customs at the Indo-Pak Attari border crossing by the Amritsar Customs Preventive Commissionerate in November 2022 from a foreign national entering India. The artefact from the Gandhara School of Art dates back to 2nd or 3rd CE.

Coins And Idols:

In 2017 and 2018 the Land Customs Station, Attari Rail, had seized 327 antique coins from different passengers. The ASI had identified these coins as belonging to various historical eras including.

Another trove of 25 idols being smuggled to Bangladesh and valued at Rs35 crore was seized in August 2020 on the Indo- Bangla border. The treasures include seven stone idols of Parvati, Mansa Devi, Lord Vishnu and Lord Surya, seven metallic artefacts made of bronze and octo-alloy used for casting metallic idols in Hindu and Jain temples, besides 11 terracotta idols.

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