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Politics & Religion

London Returns Three Stolen Sculptures From 1978 Back To India.

Back in August 2019, a group by the name of India Pride Project alerted the High Commission of India in London about four idols of Hindu gods Rama, Sita, and Laxmana. The group informed that a person in London possessed these 15th-century idols.

Upon receiving the heads-up, the HIC alerted the Art and Antiques Unit of the London Metropolitan Police. Upon investigation, the police were able to trace the art collector.

Apparently, the collector possessed several other idols of Hindu gods. After recovering the sculptures, the police handed them over to an Indian official in London. The sculptures are currently on their way back to Tamil Nadu.

Reportedly, an individual stole these priceless sculptures from a functional Vishnu Temple in Nagapatinnam back in 1978. And now, after more than four decades, these historically significant sculptures are finally returning to the state of Tamil Nadu.

The British police were also able to track the vendor who was involved in the smuggling of these statues. However, the vendor is dead. Because of this, the police have no intention to investigate the case any further.

The Union Minister of Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel was also virtually present during the handing over ceremony of these three sculptures.

Since independence, we had received only 13 sculptures from foreign countries, but it is a matter of happiness that since 2014 we have received more than 40 sculptures, and we are trying to get more sculptures in the coming years. We are talking to the British Museum to bring the Vagdevi idol back to India,” Patel said.

People have received the news of these sculptures’ return back to India with joy. Many of them took to Twitter to thank the India Pride Project – the group responsible for initiating the investigation.

To note here, the India Pride Project is a group of art enthusiasts. They utilise social media to identify and track stolen religious artefacts from Indian temples.

Earlier this year, they were also able to retrieve a stolen statue of Lord Shiva. As per reports, the thief stole them from the Ghateshwar temple in Rajasthan several years ago.

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