A man in Bihar campaigning to save the over 100-year-old Patna Museum claimed on Sunday that he was "threatened and pressurised by the Nitish Kumar government" to stop his campaign.
Pushpraj, an activist and convenor of "Save Yakshini and Save Patna Museum", is leading a campaign against the shifting of the precious artefacts, sculptures and rare manuscripts from it to the newly constructed Bihar Museum, to be inaugurated on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti on Monday (October 2).
He said that, during the last one month, "the Bihar government has used different channels to put pressure on me to stop my campaign to save Patna Museum".
Pushpraj, however, asserted that the campaign would be intensified to mobilise support.
"We will intensify our campaign to save Patna Museum and mobilise support in and outside the country," Pushpraj, who is also the author of a book "Nandigram Diary", told IANS here.
"We are not going to stay silent. We will intensify our campaign and protest till all the precious artefacts, sculptures and rare manuscripts return from Bihar Museum to Patna Museum, where they belong originally."
Pushpraj said they would not do anything, including protest and blocking of roads, before the inauguration of Bihar Museum.
"We will continue our non-violent campaign and protest for next one year to put pressure on the state government to save Patna museum."
According to Additional Director (Administration) of Bihar Museum J.P.N. Singh, 80 per cent of Patna Museum's show-pieces will be shifted. This includes artefacts related to Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, among others.
Singh said a casket containing the holy relic of Lord Buddha, another prized possession of the Patna Museum, would be transferred.
Patna Museum will also lose the over 2,300-year-old Didarganj Yakshi sculpture. The glory of Patna Museum spread worldwide with its prized collection of Yakshini, an artistic imagination of bountiful beauty.
Several academics, historians, scholars of different fields, researchers and activists fear that Patna Museum, which completed its 100th year in April 2017, may die a slow death.
They have also written a letter to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar against the shifting of rare and invaluable archaeological antiques and artefacts to Bihar Museum from Patna Museum. They appealed to the Chief Minister to save the century-old-Patna Museum.
"We strongly oppose this mess with the future of antiquities which represent our shared culture," they said.
World known historians, including Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib, have also signed a petition against the decision of the state government.