Move to Take Away Artefacts From Bhopal Palace Opposed

Move to Take Away Artefacts From Bhopal Palace Opposed

A city-based organisation has opposed the move of taking away of antique items from the flag staff house in Ahmedabad Palace, the residence of erstwhile ruler of Bhopal.

The flag staff house is an ancestral property of Late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, whose mother was the daughter of the last Nawab of Bhopal, Hamidullah Khan. Recently, members of the royal family had initiated efforts to distribute its belongings and antique artefacts among themselves.

Noted actress Sharmila Tagore, wife of late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi -- heir of Bhopal Nawab -- who had been in the town to settle the property dispute, yesterday called for police escort to get out of the palace after some agitators gathered outside to register their protest against removing the antique artefacts from the palace.

According to sources, Sharmila wants to sell the flag staff house situated in Ahmedabad Palace in Koh-e-Fiza area of Bhopal, though her move has been opposed by a few of her relatives.

Those opposing the sale and shifting of belongings of the flag staff house have come together under the banner of Sahara Samajik Uthhan Samiti.

Though the chairman of the Samiti, Mehraz Khan Mastan, had planned to stage a protest yesterday, he failed to arrive at the flag staff house on time. However, a large number of mediapersons and others had already gathered outside when Sharmila went there to collect her artefacts.

The actress then called the police to escort her out of the palace to the nearby hotel, following which police sent a team to ensure that she moved out safely.

Bhopal North's Superintendent of Police (SP) Arvind Saxena confirmed that the actress had sought police escort. 

Mehraz later claimed that he failed to arrive at the protest site as five unidentified persons had come to his Lalghati residence on Monday night and gave him a letter, threatening that he would be shot dead if he staged a protest at the flag staff house.

"The belongings of Bhopal Nawab are historic and are important for the people of Bhopal. Therefore, these things and other valuables should not be taken out and nobody should be allowed to sell them," Mehraz told reporters.

In a related development, Madhya Pradesh High Court has issued notices to the state as well as the Central government on a PIL filed by Mohammad Ashfaq Khan, Rakesh Dixit and Mohammad Naseem of Bhopal demanding that the heir of Nawab Hamidullah Khan of Bhopal be restricted from "selling, transferring, removing or taking possession of the antiquities" of the Nawab.

They argued that if these antique articles are disposed by the heir of Nawab, it would be in violation of the provisions of Antiquities and Art Treasure Act of 1972.

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