A 12th century Buddha statue which was stolen from an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) site museum in 1961 was today (15 August) returned to India by London’s Metropolitan Police, Press Trust of India has reported.
This bronze statue with a silver inlay was one of the 14 statues which were stolen from the museum in Nalanda, Bihar. The statue is believed to have changed several hands over the years before finally surfacing at a London auction.
The statue was first identified in March of this year by India Pride Project’s Vijay Kumar and Association for Research into Crimes Against Art’s (ARCA) functionary Lynda Albertson, who alerted the police.
Both the dealer and the “owner” of the statue were subsequently made aware of the statue’s stolen nature, who then fully cooperated the Metropolitan Police’s Art and Antiques Unit. This included agreeing that it be returned to India.
Finally in a ceremony to mark India’s seventy-second Independence Day, the Scotland Yard returned the statue to Indian High Commissioner to the UK - Y K Sinha.
Sinha described the return of the priceless Buddha as a wonderful gesture, particularly for him as he hails from Bihar. He also expressed hope that the statue will now go back to where it originally belongs.