Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 17
A copious list of questions, along with a copy of the MHA order banning the export of Chandigarh’s heritage furniture, was sent to the Ministry of Culture, Luxembourg, today.
In response to an email sent by Juriste Chris Backes of Luxembourg’s Ministry of Culture, who sought details of the city’s six heritage items being auctioned on September 18 in Stadtbredimus, a member of UT’s Heritage Items Protection Cell, Ajay Jagga, has asked the auction house to provide the aquisition details of the city’s heritage furniture.
Confirming that all six furniture items are from Chandigarh, Jagga requested the Luxembourg ministry to enquire about the procurement of each heritage furniture exclusively. He asked the auction house to name the “Administrative Building” from where the scissor-leg Jeanneret chair without cushion (item no. 71) was acquired, along with the invoice of the government office in the buyer’s name. He also asked if the buyers came to India on business visa and followed commercial laws in India and Luxembourg. ‘Custom clearance as per that invoice’ has also been sought from the auction house.
Similar questions, pertaining to invoices and proof of sale of furniture, as per Indian laws, have been posed to the auction house through the Ministry of Luxembourg.
Jagga has demanded the “invoice of High Court in the name of buyer” also for another heritage furniture item (no. 72), a pair of cushioned Jeanneret style recliners, which the auction house claims to have taken from a “Private collection of 2007 Hight Court Chandigarh, India”.
The auction house has provided the details of the city’s heritage furniture pieces, stating that all six of them were acquired in 2007 from the private collection of “Punjab Physique University Chandigarh, India”, “Hight court Chandigarh, India” and “Administrative buildings, Chandigarh, India”.
Earlier on September 13, Jagga wrote to the Minister of Culture, Luxembourg, India’s Minister for External Affairs and the Indian Diplomat to Luxembourg/Berlin for returning the heritage furniture of City Beautiful, as per the UN’s conventions on cultural property of a country.
In his letter to Backes, he wrote: “The aim is to ensure, that there should be no violation of the laws relating to the cultural objects/heritage. The sellers should be lawful owners and this, to my mind, can be established by a probe by law enforcing agencies of the country in which auction is going on. And, if the auction house is clear, clean and lawful owner, they should not shy away from a probe and should welcome but if there are issues regarding proper import in Luxembourg, then international law or UN conventions say return the cultural/heritage items.”
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