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Australia to return 1,800- year-old stolen Buddha statue to India

NGA director Gerard Vaughan told News Corp on Friday that the sculpture would likely be returned to Indian government officials when they visit Australia for an Indian cultural festival in September.

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Lord Buddha statue. Image Source: www.travelweekly-asia.com
  • The second-century statue stands at 1.3 metres tall and was purchased from Asian art specialist Nancy Wiener by billionaire Ros Packer, on behalf of the NGA, in 2007
  • The condition of the statue was so good that it was initially thought to be a fake
  • The NGA would be reviewing all 5,000 Asian antiquities in its collection due to the “culture” of failing to adequately check the background of its dealers

CANBERRA: A 1,800-year-old Buddha statue which was displayed in the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) is being prepared for its return to India, after it was found to have been purchased from an illegal antiquity trafficker, authorities said on Friday, July 22.

Stollen Buddha Statue at National Gallery of Australia. Image Source: www.theaustralian.com.au
Stolen Buddha Statue at National Gallery of Australia. Image Source: www.theaustralian.com.au

The second-century statue stands at 1.3 metres tall, and was purchased from Asian art specialist Nancy Wiener by billionaire Ros Packer, on behalf of the NGA, in 2007, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, documents revealed that NGA staff simply accepted Wiener’s story of how she came to be in possession of the antiquity, unaware that it was in fact stolen from an archaeological site in Mathura, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

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NGA director Gerard Vaughan told News Corp on Friday that the sculpture would likely be returned to Indian government officials when they visit Australia for an Indian cultural festival in September.

“There is a high-level delegation coming in September so we’re investigating whether that will be the moment of handover,” Vaughan said.

Dr. Gerard Vaughan, Director of NGA. Image Source: http://nga.gov.au/
Dr Gerard Vaughan, Director of NGA. Image Source: http://nga.gov.au/

“Or (we) simply come to an agreement with India, because it is no longer our property, whether it can just be sent back to India. “

The condition of the statue was so good that it was initially thought to be a fake, though when experts from the Archaeological Survey of India examined the piece, it was revealed to be genuine.

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“One of the reasons was because it’s of great age and was in very good condition. Good condition can denote a fake,” Vaughan said.

“It was good for them to come back to us and say it was authentic and certainly something that should be returned to India, ” he said.

5,000 Asian antiquities to be showcased in NGA. Image Source: camd.org.au
5,000 Asian antiquities to be showcased in NGA. Image Source: camd.org.au

According to Vaughan, the NGA would be reviewing all 5,000 Asian antiquities in its collection due to the “culture” of failing to adequately check the background of its dealers.

The news follows the arrest last month of one of the gallery’s main suppliers, Subhash Kapoor, who was charged with illegal trafficking of antiquities. (IANS)

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Rape is a heinous crime and the rapists should not be set free.

By SALIL GEWALI

The horrendous acts committed by four boys provoked nationwide outrage. The accused, after the premeditated rape, had set the victim’s body on fire. Nothing could be as shocking as this. Thank God today those four got shot dead in an encounter. I salute the police even if it is a fake encounter. What more we need more than the confession by the criminals. The “evil” must be done away with by all means at the earliest. Else, the rapists will be set free within a few months/years. This again will only embolden other sadists.

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The monsters who raped Nirbhaya in 2012 were awarded with a sewing machine along with the cash prize of Rs 10000/-.

I’m afraid, there is no shortage of leaders and so-called “activists” in the country who stand up and scream to defend the criminals of high order. The monsters who raped Nirbhaya in 2012 was awarded with a sewing machine along with the cash prize of Rs 10000/-. Who proposed this beastly idea? It was by our leaders. Why didn’t we condemn such leaders first? Tolerating the evil is itself a big sin.

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This is nothing but allowing to rape the body of society!  Therefore, I fear certain “leaders and activists” of modern times that question the values of humanity, but keep mum, or defend evil of a “certain” kind.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great Minds of India’.
Twitter:@SGewali