No home for India’s priceless heritage

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by Ivan Macquisten
courtesy of IADAA

December 8, 2016 – Daily Mail Online India reported that the Indian Government is at a loss where to put scores of artefacts returned to the country after they were stolen or illegally exported.
“Now the problem is if we get these antique idols back to India, where will we keep them? We can’t dump them randomly at museums as many of them have high religious value. And on the other hand, if we reinstall them at the temples or other places where they used to be, who will take care of the security of these items?” sources at the Ministry of Culture told Mail Today.

An official said that if these artefacts are returned to their original locations, attempts would be made to steal them again.
A proper security mechanism needs to be in place, such as CCTV cameras around the premises and security personnel, to thwart such efforts. The cost of this operation remains unknown.
The US government returned over 200 stolen cultural artefacts to India, some dating back 2000 years, when PM Modi visited the country in June this year.

This article prompts the question as to whether similar issues need to be taken into consideration before returning artefacts to Middle East & North Africa countries to ensure that they are not put at risk and that those countries fulfil their obligations under the UNESCO Convention.

This article was first published in the IADAA newsletter. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

To learn more about the IADAA, the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art go to their website.