Australia has returned 29 religious and cultural artefacts to India

Australia has returned 29 religious and cultural artifacts to India. Many of these were imported from India to illegally, while many idols were stolen. The Government of India had asked the governments of Western countries to identify such Indian heritage in their museum and try to return them to India.

The 13 artworks that Australia has returned to India have a connection with the trafficker Subhash Kapoor. It was a Manhattan art dealer who has been under the purview of the US Federal investigation, Operation Hidden Idol.

Prime Minister Modi thanked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for this step and said that he is thankful for returning these ancient artifacts to India.

Modi said that the items returned include many 100-year-old sculptures and paintings. All these illegally were taken from India to other countries. Now we will deliver them to their rightful place.

Australia returned artefacts to India

These items include sculptures, paintings, photographs and scrolls which are said to be from the 9th century. This includes a bronze statue of Shivaji worth US$ 5 million. Which was stolen from a temple in the southern kingdom. Subhash Kapoor’s hand is also said to be involved in taking it out of India. Kapoor was arrested in 2011, now he is waiting for trial. He has denied all the allegations against him.

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Experts estimate that thousands of artworks are stolen from Indian temples each year and shipped to a thriving international antiquities market.

These artefacts are generally smuggled out under fake documentation and concealed in furniture or garment consignments. Most never return to India.

Barry O’Farrell, Australia’s high commissioner to India, said the restitution of the artefacts was a symbol of strong diplomatic ties “built on deep bonds of trust and cooperation”.

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