Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 8:
A day after US government returned over 200 artefacts to India, Odisha Government today said that it will take necessary steps to bring back the artefacts stolen from Odisha back to the state.
“Among the many artefacts given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there are many that had been smuggled out of Odisha. We would try to get them back in Odisha as they bear the signature of out rich heritage,” said Odisha Culture and Tourism Minister Ashok Panda speaking to reporters today.
“I would ask the state museum authorities to get in touch with the Union Government and take necessary action on this context,” he added.
It may be noted here that the USA government yesterday returned over 200 cultural artefacts estimated at $100 million to India in a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Expressing his gratitude to the US government for the sensitivity shown to India’s heritage, Modi said, “Grateful to President Obama for returning India’s stolen cultural heritage. People are attracted to India for its ancient civilisation. This will evoke great respect among the people of India”.
The items returned included religious statues, bronzes and terra cotta pieces, among others. They have been looted from various places of the country. Some of them are allegedly from Odisha.
These articles were seized during Operation Hidden Idol, an investigation that began in 2007, after US Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) special agents were tipped off about a shipment destined for the US manifested as “marble garden table sets”.