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Durga idol found in Pak armoury big draw

By Raju Das

SHILLONG, Oct 2 � Found inside a Pakistani armoury from the war zone of East Pakistan, this �ancient� Durga idol is one of the many attractions of this year�s Durga Puja celebrations in Meghalaya.

The idol at the 83 battalion of the Border Security Force at Mawpat here is one of the rare Ashtadhatu (eight metals) idols of Durga. These idols were especially made during the 6th century and are made of gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, tin, iron and mercury. The exact date of the Asthadhatu idol at the BSF camp is, however, not known.

The idol was found on December 15 during the Indo-Pak War in 1971. After the defeat of the Pakistanis, mass surrender of Pakistani army was on. The Indian troops were headed back to their barracks in India. In one of the units of the Indian force was Sher Bahadur Thakuri, a young Lance Naik of the �C� Coy of 83 Battalion of the BSF.

When the unit reached Mymensing from Dhaka and entered into an abandoned cantonment area of the Pakistanis, Thakuri noticed an armoury.

Narrating the incident to The Assam Tribune, Thakuri said: �We were collecting weapons and ammunition left by the Pakistanis in the cantonment. Suddenly, I saw a machine gun fitted in a three-storied building, so I climbed up, but did not know that the gun was corked.�

The 1971 war hero added that he accidentally touched the trigger and bullets burst out hitting a portion of the building. �I saw something glittering, where the bullets hit, and went to check, but could find nothing.�

Thakuri said he had a divine call and so revisited the building the next day. �So I returned to the same building and after careful search noticed a toe-like glittering object. I pulled it out and saw Durga Ma�s idol complete with the Lion and Mahishasura (buffalo demon),� he narrated. The idol weighs about 45 kg.

Thakuri brought the idol back to India and to his unit headquarters here in Shillong. �I was offered Rs 25 lakh at that time to sell the idol to a businessman in Tura. I refused,� Thakuri said.

Ever since, the idol has been part of the Durga temple at the 83 battalion of the BSF. The idol has travelled to far-flung places like Kalal, Tangdhar in Jammu and Kashmir with the battalion, but is brought back during Durga Puja celebrations here at the temple.

Meanwhile, this year there are 155 Durga Puja pandals in Meghalaya. New Colony, Lumparing and Hatath Colony are celebrating their platinum, diamond and silver jubilee Durga Pujas respectively.

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Durga idol found in Pak armoury big draw

SHILLONG, Oct 2 � Found inside a Pakistani armoury from the war zone of East Pakistan, this �ancient� Durga idol is one of the many attractions of this year�s Durga Puja celebrations in Meghalaya.

The idol at the 83 battalion of the Border Security Force at Mawpat here is one of the rare Ashtadhatu (eight metals) idols of Durga. These idols were especially made during the 6th century and are made of gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, tin, iron and mercury. The exact date of the Asthadhatu idol at the BSF camp is, however, not known.

The idol was found on December 15 during the Indo-Pak War in 1971. After the defeat of the Pakistanis, mass surrender of Pakistani army was on. The Indian troops were headed back to their barracks in India. In one of the units of the Indian force was Sher Bahadur Thakuri, a young Lance Naik of the �C� Coy of 83 Battalion of the BSF.

When the unit reached Mymensing from Dhaka and entered into an abandoned cantonment area of the Pakistanis, Thakuri noticed an armoury.

Narrating the incident to The Assam Tribune, Thakuri said: �We were collecting weapons and ammunition left by the Pakistanis in the cantonment. Suddenly, I saw a machine gun fitted in a three-storied building, so I climbed up, but did not know that the gun was corked.�

The 1971 war hero added that he accidentally touched the trigger and bullets burst out hitting a portion of the building. �I saw something glittering, where the bullets hit, and went to check, but could find nothing.�

Thakuri said he had a divine call and so revisited the building the next day. �So I returned to the same building and after careful search noticed a toe-like glittering object. I pulled it out and saw Durga Ma�s idol complete with the Lion and Mahishasura (buffalo demon),� he narrated. The idol weighs about 45 kg.

Thakuri brought the idol back to India and to his unit headquarters here in Shillong. �I was offered Rs 25 lakh at that time to sell the idol to a businessman in Tura. I refused,� Thakuri said.

Ever since, the idol has been part of the Durga temple at the 83 battalion of the BSF. The idol has travelled to far-flung places like Kalal, Tangdhar in Jammu and Kashmir with the battalion, but is brought back during Durga Puja celebrations here at the temple.

Meanwhile, this year there are 155 Durga Puja pandals in Meghalaya. New Colony, Lumparing and Hatath Colony are celebrating their platinum, diamond and silver jubilee Durga Pujas respectively.