Stolen from Kashmir, Traced in Germany: Antique Durga Idol Finally Returning Home



German authorities are likely to return a 9th century Durga idol that reportedly went missing from a temple in Jammu and Kashmir and later surfaced at a museum in Germany.

The idol is expected to be handed over to the Indian Embassy in Germany on September 23 and will be flown to India. “The idol may reach India by September 26 or 27,” official at Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) told media.

The idol, showing Hindu Goddess slaying the Buffalo Demon, was stolen from a temple at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir in the 1990s, official sources said. An FIR was registered in connection with the theft and investigation launched.

Pertinently, in 2012, an ASI received a tip-off that the idol was spotted at the Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Germany before the Union government initiated process of getting it back.

The idol was registered with the Department of Archaeology of the Jammu and Kashmir Government, as well, officials said.

Police suspect the role of notorious Indian art dealer Subhash Kapoor in smuggling the idol out of India. Kapoor was arrested in Germany in 2011. Sources said the idol could have been procured from his (Kapoor’s) gallery ‘Art of the Past’.

Kapoor was the subject of an Interpol red corner notice and was arrested in 2011 at Frankfurt International Airport in Germany. He was subsequently extradited to India to face criminal charges.


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