Idol wing joins hand with IIT-Madras to identify smuggled antique idols of TN

The Idol wing of Tamil Nadu police is joining hands with Indian Institute of Technology-Madras for identifying smuggled antique idols from the state.

The special wing of the Tamil Nadu police will seek the support of IIT- Madras to create an artificial intelligence-based software to hunt for smuggled idols belonging to temples of the state.

Director-General of Police K. Jayanth Murali, who is heading the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu police, while addressing media persons said, “We are developing an algorithm along with the IIT -Madras, with the unique characteristics of idols belonging to different periods like Pandya, Chola, and Sangam periods.”

This software, according to the police officer, will look for idols from Tamil Nadu using the images of idols using the images available on international websites of museums and collectors.

The Tamil Nadu idol wing had identified two more idols stolen from Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu and now in Denver and California.

The DGP said that the department registered a case on Wednesday and initiated action under Mutual Legal Agreement Treaty (MLAT) to bring them back.

The senior officer said that the idol wing has identified 40 such idols from Tamil Nadu that were stolen and smuggled out of the country and kept in international museums.

Jayanth Murali said that the Union Government would write to those countries seeking retrieval of the idols as per the UNESCO treaty by submitting proof of their origin such as photographs taken in Tamil Nadu temples.

After scrutiny of the requisition of the Home Ministry, the communication is sent to the country concerned and a representative of the country concerned will visit the state and conduct an inquiry about the idol, temple, and the period in which it was stolen and lost.

The idol will be sent back to India only if the representative is convinced that it belongs to the temple from where it has been stolen, according to the documents presented.

The idol wing has also sought the details of all the idols of Tamil Nadu temples from the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) department which has a complete database of the idols.

Jayanth Murali handed over two high-value idols of Nandhikeswarar and Gangalamoorthi, which were recently brought back from the US to the executive officer of the Narasinganallur temple in Tenkasi district.

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