Investigations on into theft of Holy Quran in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Oct 30 (UNI) Investigations are in progress to retrieve a copy of the Holy Quran, believed to be 400 years old with Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's seal, which was stolen from the Sri Pratap Singh (SPS) Museum here in September 2003, official sources said today.

They said the theft was reported to the police on the same day and the investigations were launched immediately.

However, the case was later handed over to the crime branch, the sources said.

They also denied that the Holy Quran had been handwritten by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. ''The seal of Aurangzeb had been stamped on one of the leaves of the Holy Quran.'' The sources said some insider only could be involved in the theft as the 109 year-old museum was heavily guarded round-the clock.

''It is impossible for an outsider to take anything out of the museum complex. The security is very tight and guards are very alert,'' they added.

The official Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Bashir-ud-din Ahmed, has expressed shock and concern over the loss of the Holy Quran, and demanded a judicial probe into the mysterious disappearance of the rare manuscript from the SPS museum.

''The theft is highly deplorable as it is related to the sentiments of the millions of Muslims across the world. It is also a heritage loss of Muslims,'' he added.

The Mufti held the central government responsible for the loss of the holy book. ''The loss of the Muslim heritage is the result of the central government's carelessness towards its duties. It is the duty of the government to take care of the cultural assets of the Muslims,'' he added.

The Mufti asked the Centre to hand over the Muslim heritage to the All India Muslim Waqf Board for proper preservation. ''If the government is not able to take care, it should hand over this responsibility to the Waqf Board.'' He also asked the government to speed up its efforts to retrieve the copy of the holy Quran, demanding that the investigations into the incident of theft be carried out by a judge.

UNI

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