New Delhi: UK authorities have returned 15th-century idols of Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman to India, said the Minister of Culture Prahlad Patel. Patel confirmed that the three idols belong to India and were stolen in 1978 from a temple in Tamil Nadu. He said that these idols are from the Vijayanagara empire dating back to 15th century.
The UK authorities have handed over two similar idols and a pillar in the recent past also. He thanked the UK government and officials working at the Indian High Commission in London for ensuring the return of the idols. The Union Minister said that over 40 lost antiquities have been procured by the Indian government since 2014. Only 13 artefacts and antiquities were brought back by the Indian government since independence till 2013.
In August this year, the United Kingdom had returned a 9th-century statue of Lord Shiva which was stolen and smuggled nearly 20 years ago from a temple in Rajasthan. The rare stone statue that was stolen in February 1998 from Baroli’s Ghateshwar Temple was returned to the Archaeological Survey of India.