Protesters run riot
189 artifacts bound for France taken to airport: Protesters run riot as bid to stop transportation fails
Police arrests two of the protestors in the city
yesterday while they were trying to stop transportation of
relics from the National Museum for an exhibition in France.
Protestors banging their fists on the windscreen of the car
carrying the relics. Focu
Ignoring the protest and demonstration of hundreds of art connoisseurs, ten crates containing 189 rare and invaluable archeological artifacts of Bangladesh were taken out of the National Museum yesterday morning and sent to the Zia International Airport amid heavy police presence.
These artifacts, representing Bangladesh's ancient history, will be bound for Guimet Museum in Paris, via a Air France flight (AF 6731) 12:05pm today.
Breaking the emergency rule, protesters assembled in front of the National Museum gate at Shahbagh in the morning learning that the artifacts were being removed from the National Museum secretly.
Witnesses said the artifacts were removed through a large covered van and forklift truck of Homebound Packers and Shippers at the order by the French Embassy in Dhaka.
Trucks and forklift went to the National Museum premises secretly in the early hours of morning. But the news leaked and protesters gathered thronged outside the museum. Under heavy police presence Homebound vehicles (Dhaka Metro Uma 11-0814, Pho 11-3634, U 14-0187) and forklift truck, bearing "Save The Children Cyclone and USAID Sidr Emergency Relief" signs were used to take away the priceless items. As the protesters were watching as the artifacts being loaded onto Homebound trucks, they requested the media to disseminate the news and prevent the artifacts from being taken away in such a manner.
At one stage, the protesters, including artists, archeologists and students of the nearby Fine Arts Institute locked in a clash with police when they tried to intercept the Homebound covered van to take out the artifacts. Police also charged batons on the protesters when they pelted brickbats on the police.
Shekhar Shashwata, an archeologist was arrested by police, while some media professionals were roughed up. Later, the protesters were able to get Shekhar released from the Shahbagh police custody. He was released upon a signed undertaking by those demanding his release.
Shahbagh thana officer Morshed who arrested Shekhar, claimed he "knew nothing about what was happening across the road."
The artifacts were collected from five different museums in the country--National Museum in Dhaka, Barind Research Museum in Rajshahi, Mahasthangarh Archaeological Museum, Mainamoti Archaeological Museum and Paharpur Archaeological Museum. Amongst the objects are one copy of Prajna Paramita (Buddhist manuscript), terracotta heads dating back to the 4th century, bronze sculpture of Lokanath of the 8th century, stone sculptures of Nataraj, Mahamaya, Chamunda, Kalyansundar, Panchamukha Shiblinga, Surja, Nabagraha, Shyamatara, Marichi and others of the 10th century.
The artifacts also include a wood sculpture of Lokanath of the 11th century and headgear of the 2nd Shah Abbas of Persia of the 18th century.