UK hands over 3 stolen idols of a Tamil Nadu temple back to India

  • Gayatri
  • Wednesday | 16th September, 2020

The UK-based collector behind the handover, who has chosen to stay anonymous, was described as a lover of Indian art and culture.

A set of stolen idols of from a temple in Tamil Nadu of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana have been voluntary given back by a collector to the Indian government.

The theft dates back to 1978 and led to an investigation by the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police working along with colleagues in the Metropolitan Police in London.

The unnamed collector, who had acquired the statues in good faith, was informed about their dubious provenance by the Met Police.

After knowing about the true story behind those idols, the collector voluntary decided to give it back. The idols belong to Sri Rajagopalaswami Temple at Ananthamangalam in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu.

In a ceremony streamed from India House in London in keeping with the limit on gatherings due to the COVID-19 restrictions, priests from Sri Murugan Temple in London conducted a short religious ceremony for their handover to India.

"Today marks the successful completion of the search and rescue operation of these very beautiful idols, which were consecrated and worshipped side by side for years. We wanted to ensure these deities were handled with due reverence and propriety before they are shipped back to India," said Indian High Commissioner to the UK Gaitri Issar Kumar.

"On behalf of the government of India, I hope this will inspire museums and collectors to carefully look and check their collections and help us restore deities that belong to the people of India and have been worshipped for centuries," she said.

The UK-based collector behind the handover, who has chosen to stay anonymous, was described as a lover of Indian art and culture.

Addressing the virtual event, officials from the state government of Tamil Nadu praised his voluntary intervention and expressed the hope that no further action will be taken against him.


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