India tells UN it is ready to accept Afghan relics
Saturday March 10, 6:40 PM
United Nations, Mar 10 (PTI) The United Nations General Assembly has urged Taliban to take immediate action to prevent destruction of historic monuments in Afghanistan, even as New Delhi expressed willingness to arrange for the transfer of artefacts to India where they would be preserved for all mankind.
In a non-binding resolution, sponsored by over 100 nations and approved by consensus yesterday, the General Assembly urged the Taliban to take immediate action to prevent further destruction of the unique relics and other monuments.
Participating in the discussion on the resolution introduced by Germany, Indian Ambassador to the U N Kamalesh Sharma told the Assembly that the relics could be shifted to India in the full knowledge and clear understanding that they are in the first place and above all, treasures of the Afghan people themselves.
Condemning the destruction of statues and relics, Sharma said Taliban's decision "demonstrates, yet again, that destructon is the Taliban's only creed. It has destroyed ethnic harmony in Afghanistan; it has stranged the desire of Afghan girls and women for education; and it has ruthlessly trampled upon the human rights of Afghans".
He said despite protests, appeals and international outrage, the Taliban is bent upon committing "a grievous misdeed, indeed, a sacrilege to humanity, to the civilizational and cultural inheritance of all mankind, by starting to destroy the incomparable and unique statues of Buddha at Bamiyan, celebrated over almost two millennia". MORE PTI TVP ARD SNS RP PTI NNNN
Terming this act of cultural vandalism as "deeply tragic", Kamlesh Sharma said, "(the fact) that it is being perversely undertaken in the name of a noble religion makes it even more reprehensible".
Declaring that the destruction of cultural treasures should be unthinkable in the 21st century, Sharma said the intent to destroy the Buddha statues should be seen not as an impulsive act but in keeping with a policy of cultural nihilism which seeks to erase Afghanistan's cultural past.
This regression into mindless medieval barbarism in Afghanistan under the Taliban, said Sharma, is precisely what India, amongst many other countries, has been cautioning the world against for so long.
Even at this late stage, said Sharma, "we would like to appeal that the destruction of the incomparable manifestations of the shared cultural heritage of mankind must stop".
The U N resolution called on all members "to help, through appropriate technical measures, to safeguard the sculptures, including, if necessary, their temporary relocation or removal from public view".
Japan's Ambassador to the U N Yukio Satoh requested that the resolution be conveyed to the Taliban. UNGA spokeswoman Sue Markham said it would be forwarded immediately.
Germany's U.N. Ambassador Dieter Kastrup told the Assembly that the Feb. 26 edict ordering destruction of Afghan relics was an unacceptable act of religious intolerance.
Striking a somewhat discordant note, Pakistani envoy Masmasood Khalid, while urging the Taliban to rescind its edict, said it was also necessary to look at the "bigger picture" in Afghanistan - primarily the restoration of peace and reconstruction of the country. PTI TVP ard SNS RP PTI NNNN
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