Sunday, June 16, 2024

India recovers 105 antiques that were smuggled to the US

India received on Monday 105 smuggled antiques dating from at least the second to the 18th centuries that were recovered by US officials.

India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said that the return of the antiques follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington last month during which he had thanked President Joe Biden “for helping the return of the properties”.

“For us, these are not just art but part of our heritage, culture and religion. So when this lost heritage returns home, they will be received with a lot of emotion,” he said.

About 50 of the antiques have religious significance for Hindus, Jains and Muslims, while the rest are of cultural value.

Officials from the Manhattan prosecutor’s office, which played the main role in recovering them, well as federal officials participated in the repatriation ceremony at India’s Consulate General here when the antiques were handed over to Sandhu and Consul General Randhir Jaiswal.

Jordan Stockdale from the prosecutor’s office said, “We are excited to return those priceless treasures to you.”

“We are deeply appreciative of Prime Minister Modi’s kind words at the White House and they reflect the close collaboration, which has led to successful recovery for thousands of Indian antiquities,” said Stockdale, who is the chief of staff of Prosecutor Alvin Bragg.

He said that he expected more of them to be returned to India. He said that some of the antiques were recovered from museums or other collections in New York, Chicago and elsewhere.

Stockdale said that many of the artifacts were smuggled to the US by Subash Kapoor, who ran an art gallery in New York, and his accomplices. Kapoor was sentenced last year by a court in Kumbakonam to a 10-year prison term for the theft of a religious statue from a temple.

He is also facing charges in New York, where some of his accomplices have been convicted.

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