Bangladesh decides not to dispatch artifacts to French museum

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Dhaka, Dec 25 (UNI) Amidst public outcry and debates over the theft of two valuable terracotta statues of Hindu God Vishnu, the Bangladesh government today decided not to dispatch the artifacts to Paris' Guimet Museum.

An official statement said due to an unfortunate incident of theft of two artifacts from Zia International Airport early Saturday and because of complexity and public outcry over the matter, it has been decided that the remaining artifacts would not be dispatched.

A special meeting, chaired by caretaker government Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, took the decision after thoroughly reviewing the situation involving the dispatch of the artifacts to France.

The meeting decided that the Guimet Museum would be informed regretfully that it would not be possible to ''go ahead with holding the exhibition of the items as planned''.

In response to an invitation from Guimet Museum, the Bangladesh government had accepted the offer to showcase its rich cultural heritage in Paris, keeping in line with the usual practice of countries doing such displays.

Earlier, 42 artifacts in 10 boxes were sent to Paris Guimet Museum for the exhibition. The second consignment of 147 artifacts was being sent after the Supreme Court cleared the legal roadblocks.

On Saturday, last 13 crates containing 147 artifacts were handed over to the Air France authorities after completing customs formalities.

Police said soon after the crates were loaded in the aircraft, it was found that one crate containing two statues of Hindu God Vishnu was missing.

Later, the missing crate was found empty in a ditch near the runway of the airport.

The government formed a five-member Inquiry Committee to investigate into the matter and submit its findings by tomorrow.

The French Embassy here said they feel that the disappearance of the crate containing two small statues is 'highly suspicious and could also be the result of a conspiracy' by a very small nexus of people to embarrass the two countries.

The Embassy in a release said the crate containing two small statues, belonging to the National Museum, was stolen from the service area of Zia International Airport, hours before being loaded on a flight.

Loose procedures geared towards garment exports have led to such valuable crates being left unattended on the tarmac of the airport in an area where neither the lending nor the borrowing institutions have any control, the statement added.


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