Probe into damaged antique in Kolkata soon

A fact-finding team from the Centre will soon visit Kolkata to probe reports of irreparable damage to a 2200-year-old priceless antique called the Rampurva Lion Capital, sustained during renovation work at the Indian Museum recently.

The three-member team will comprise experts from the National Museum and Archaeological Survey of India, a senior Culture Ministry official told Deccan Herald.

The seven-foot artefact, which dates back to 250 BC, is one of the rarest specimens of Mauryan culture, built in the time of Ashoka the Great.

The incident allegedly took place as labourers were shifting the heavy sandstone sculpture using a makeshift pulley instead of hydraulic lifts, supervised by a museum guard.

The museum’s officials, however, denied that any damage was done to the priceless artefact and described the incident as a “mere accident” while reacting to news reports.

Museum insiders, however, insisted there was negligence involved, and that museum authorities were trying to cover it up by joining the broken parts of the Rampurva Lion Capital. The museum has remained closed to the public since September due to renovation.

“We have decided to send a fact-finding team to carry out a probe into the alleged incident because they are denying it. It’s a priceless artefact. If it has been broken, it’s a great loss,” said a senior Ministry official.

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