THE United States returned more than 200 precious artifacts to India on Monday (6) in a ceremony with visiting prime minister Narendra Modi, the Justice Department said.
The items included religious statues, bronzes and terracotta pieces – some of them 2,000 years old – which were recovered in an operation involving several US government agencies.
“The United States is committed to ensuring that no nation is robbed of the objects that inform its identity, shape its traditions and inspire its citizens,” attorney general Loretta Lynch said.
“Today, as part of that ongoing commitment, more than 200 antiquities and cultural artifacts that speak to India’s astounding history and beautiful culture are beginning their journey home.”
The pieces included a statue of Saint Manikkavichavakar, a Hindu mystic and poet from the Chola period (circa 850 AD to 1250 AD) stolen from the Sivan Temple in Chennai, India, which is valued at $1.5 million (£1m).
Also included is a bronze sculpture of the Hindu god Ganesh estimated to be 1,000 years old.
Most artifacts were confiscated in Operation Hidden Idol, an investigation that dated back to 2007. It centred on the activities of New Yorkbased art dealer Subhash Kapoor, who is currently awaiting trial in India on charges of looting millions of dollars’ worth of rare antiquities from several nations.