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Central government to hand over 10 stolen idols to Tamil Nadu

Officials stated that the federal government will bring over 10 stolen antiques to Tamil Nadu next week, including four from Australia in 2020-2022 and six from the United States last year.

According to reports, Chief Minister MK Stalin has received an invitation to the event, which will take place in Delhi next week. The event will be attended by a number of cabinet officials from both the federal and state governments.

The ASI has identified the antiquities in issue as case items of the Idol Wing in Tamil Nadu. A distinct Idol Wing-Criminal Investigation Department has been established by the state government (CID).

The idols will be sent to their original sites once the state gets them. Among these idols is the Dvrapla, a stone sculpture from the Vijayanagar period from the 15th-16th centuries that was discovered in Australia in 2020. In 1994, the sculpture was stolen from Tiruneveli’s Moondreeswaramudayar Temple.

A sculpture of the Nataraja, a portrayal of Shiva in his holy cosmic dancing form, dating from the 11th-12th century, was returned from the US in 2021. This sculpture was taken from the Punnainallur Arulmigu

Mariyamman Temple’s strong chamber in Thanjavur. A sculpture of Kanklamurti was also recovered in 2021 from the United States after it was stolen from Tirunelveli’s Narasinganadhar Swamy Temple in 1985.

Nandikeshvara (13th century), the four-armed Vishnu (11th-12th century), Goddess Parvati (11th-12th century), Siva and Parvati (12th century), and Sambandar (11th century) are among the other significant masterpieces.

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Recently, Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy had said, ‘Soon, the antiquities of various other states will be returned to the respective state governments’. As per a source, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan are next in line to receive their stolen idols after Tamil Nadu.

Officials stated that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), in collaboration with several missions overseas, has been successful in retrieving artefacts from foreign territories. The process of identifying and returning smuggled/stolen antiquities to their home nation may take more than a year once they are captured in another country.


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