‘Antique’ copper cylinder sends cops in a tizzy

Object with ‘danger’ mark tests negative for radiactivity; police to take ASI help to date it

Written by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay | Kolkata | Published: August 13, 2014 12:30:01 am

The discovery of a copper cylinder, which has the year ‘1818’ and word ‘danger’ inscribed on it alongwith a skull and crossbones sign, at Bhagabangola in Murshidabad district on August 6 has created a flutter among scientists and the state administration.

The Murshidabad district police recovered the cylinder from two smugglers, who claimed to have bought it from a trader of antiques. Police then called scientists of Variable Cyclotron Energy Centre under Atomic Energy Commission at Salt Lake to examine whether there was any radioactive object inside the cylinder.
The object is believed to be dating back to the era of East India Company.

“On August 6, I received a call from Superintendent of Murshidabad Police Humayun Kabir who wanted the object to be examined for radioactivity. I told him to get it brought here, but he said they had quarantined the cylinder and policemen were afraid to go near it. On August 7, I sent a team of scientists, armed with protective gear. They found an electronic device placed inside the hollow object. It might be old. Only archaeologists can date it. But we can vouch that there was no radioactive object inside it,’’ D K Srivastav, director of the Centre, told The Indian Express.

When contacted, Humayun Kabir said more investigation was needed to determine the age of the object. “Now we will either send it to ASI or some other agency because more tests need to be done. But, now we can heave a sigh of relief as it is not radioactive,’’ Kabir said.

Antiques are periodically discovered from Murshidabad which was seat of the last Nawab of Bengal presidency, Siraj-uj-Daulah who was defeated by an English army led by Robert Clive in the Battle of Plassey in 1757.

Two days later at Bhagabangola itself, Siraj was caught and beaten to death by Miran, son of Mir Zafar, a general in the Nawab army. After Siraj, Mir Zafar became the Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.

Even during the Gupta period (4th century-5th century), times of King Shasanka, the Paul dynasty and Sen dynasty, (6th century-13th century) Murshidabad (then Karna Subarna) and its adjoining areas were prosperous areas with flourishing trade and booming agriculture.

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