International rackets have become active in Bangladesh to smuggle out national archaeological wealth from the country, detectives said.
The gangs have engaged their local agents in stealing archaeological artefacts.Detectives recovered 32 artefacts from the capital within a span of one month when miscreants were trying to smuggle them out.
They recovered 28 artefacts from Narda of Bhatara in the capital in a drive conducted on August 27. One person -- Monirul Islam -- was arrested in this connection.
According to his confession, his brother Tarikul Islam Liton is also involved in the crime.
Law enforcers are trying to arrest Tarikul.
Police think they can extract much more information from Tarikul once he is arrested.
Mohammad Bashir Uddin, additional deputy commissioner of detective police, who led the drive, told journalists that local agents of international rackets steal and collect the artefacts from various parts of the country and accumulate them in the capital.“Later, leaders of international rackets come to the capital, scrutinise them and fix prices to finally smuggle them.”
The Detective Branch official said Dr Sufi Mustafizur Rahman, a professor at Archaeological Department of Jahangirnagar University, confirmed that the recovered objects are very precious.
In June, police arrested an engineer -- Shahedur Rahman Babla -- and recovered from him a white stone sculpture with inscription on it ‘East India Company.’
Shahedur said he had brought the sculpture from a farmer of Barguna named Jaman on payment of Tk 50 lakh.
The farmer found the historical object in his land.
According to statistics of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), they recovered 1,297 archeological artefacts in last 12 years while they were being smuggle out to foreign countries.
Some 218 cases were filed in this regard.
The archeological objects are generally smuggled out through border areas.
Members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) recovered seven archeological artifacts in last eight months. At that time, these were being smuggle out beyond the border.
Mohsin Reza, the public relations officer (PRO) of the paramilitary force, said that patrolling and surveillance of BGB continued to check their smuggling.
Altaf Hossain, director general (DG) of the Department of Archeology, said they have no intelligence agency of their own to check smuggling of archeological artefacts.
“If we get any information that archeological things are being stolen, we seek help of law enforcers.”
“But if we had our own intelligence agency like the National Board of Revenue (NBR) or the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), we could check smuggling of the precious archaeological wealth of the state on time,” he said.