Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Home News Reports 600-year-old stolen Nataraja idol being brought back to India, idol wing head reveals TN...

600-year-old stolen Nataraja idol being brought back to India, idol wing head reveals TN govt refused fund to bring it back

"The Tamil Nadu government had been dodging for 330 days to bear the cost of bringing back the idol to the State by air. The registrar of AGSA, Jane Robinson, spent their own money to bring back the idol and handed it over to us,” said Idol wing head A.G. Ponn Manickavel.

A 600-year-old Nataraja idol worth Rs 30 crore which was stolen 37 years ago from a temple at Kallidaikurichi in Tirunelveli district, Chennai, Tamil Nadu is being brought back to India. The two and a half feet 16th-century idol which was kept in the gallery in Adelaide, Australia for 17 years was traced a year ago.

As a result of the Idol Wing special officer and retired Inspector-General of Police A.G. Ponn Manickavel’s persistent effort to bring the Indian heritage back to the country, the Australian authorities formally handed over the idol to officers of the wing in New Delhi on September 11 (Wednesday). The idol is being brought by Manickavel and his team from New Delhi by train and will reach Chennai on Friday morning.

Manickavel revealed that after locating and convincing the Australian authorities and Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) by producing the records substantiating that the temple is the original owner of the idol with photographs taken before the theft of the idol, that the idol belonged to India, they agreed to return the idol. However, the Tamil Nadu State government refused funds to bring back the idol for the last 330 days.

600-year-old Nataraja Idol stolen 37 years ago from a temple at Kallidaikurichi, Tamil Nadu. Courtesy: The Hindu

“The Tamil Nadu government had been dodging for 330 days to bear the cost of bringing back the idol to the State by air. The registrar of Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), Jane Robinson, at the request of the special investigation team, spent their own money to bring back the idol and handed it over to us,” he added.

Meanwhile, the idol will be handed to the temple authorities after the necessary formalities are done and orders are obtained from the special court for idol wing cases at Kumbakonam.

According to sources, the 600-year-old idol, weighing around 100 kg, was stolen after the doors of the sanctum sanctorum were broken open on July 5, 1982. Along with it, a 2.5-foot tall panchaloka idol of Sivakami, 1.5-foot tall Manickavasagar idol and 1-foot tall Sribali idol were also stolen.

A complaint was filed by the then trustee of the temple, following which the Kallidaikurichi police had registered a First Information Report (FIR) on July 6, 1982. However, two years later the Kallidaikurichi police closed the case concluding that the idol was untraceable.

However, a few years ago, the case was handed over to the court-appointed Idol Wing special team, led by Manickavel. After investigation, the case was reopened and taken up for investigation by the wing’s Additional SP Rajaram.

Recently, Tamil Nadu police’s Idol Wing led by A.G. Ponn Manickavel busted a gang that had been illegally exporting stolen antiques, idols and artefacts worth crores for several years from Puducherry to France through the Colombo port and recovered the artefacts.

Last year, Tamil Nadi government were in talks with the National Gallery of Australia to get back 7 stolen ancient idols. The state government has claimed a 1,300-year-old standing Sambandar bronze idol, another rare bronze, a 1000-year-old dancing Sambandar, stolen from the Naganathaswamy temple at Manambadi village in the Tiruvidaimaruthur taluk of Nagapattinam district which was sold for Rs 4.59 crores.

The state has claimed many idols, a 1000-year-old of Arumugan from Manambadi, an 1100-year-old Nandi idol, Bhadrakali idol of the Kailasanathar temple at Kollumangudi, in Mayiladudurai taluk, and two stone Dwarapalakar idols from Udayar Sivan temple in Atthanallur, Tirunelveli. These idols were smuggled out of the country by various antique dealers at various points in time.

Ponn Manickavel, after taking charge, reopened investigations and booked fresh cases.

Recently, two 1000-year-old bronze idols of Rajaraja Chola and his wife, Lokamadevi, were returned to Tamil Nadu after they were stolen from Brihadeeshwarar temple at Thanjavur over 50 years ago.

Three years ago, Australia had returned three artefacts, including an idol of goddess Pratyangira, stolen from a Shiva temple in Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu. In 2014, then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had returned two statues of Nataraja and Ardhanariswarar stolen from temples in the state.

About 1200 ancient idols are believed to have been stolen from Tamil Nadu between 1992 and 2017 out of which 350 have been declared untraceable and only 18 had been retrieved until last year. Owing to the lax behaviour of the authorities the Tamil Nadu government had last year at the beginning of August informed the Madras High Court that it had decided to transfer all the idol theft cases to the CBI.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

After Barkha Dutt failed to whitewash Khalistan supporter Deep Sidhu, Shekhar Gupta’s The Print picks up the pieces

Actor Deep Sidhu continues to refuse to call Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale a terrorist while he keeps participating in farmer protests

Father of Shehla Rashid files complaint against her saying she’s threatening him with life, accuses her of being involved in ‘notorious activities’

The father of the career-protestor-turned-politician Shehla Rashid claims the latter being involved in 'notorious activities'

Farmer group bats for ‘middlemen’, hails them as ‘service providers’ while scare-mongering about reforms in agriculture sector

Protesting farmers say that they are happy to pay commission to middlemen, claims new farm laws are not needed for their protection

What they never told you when they said India was the worst performing emerging economy

India’s economy contracted by 23.9%. For comparison, Brazil’s GDP contracted by 11.9% and Russia’s GDP by 8%. So, did they really do better than India?

Assam closes down temporary Covid-19 care centres, gears up to reopen elementary schools as pandemic gets under control

Assam has been witnessing reduced cases of Covid-19 with recovery rate of 98 per cent and the death rate of 0.46 per cent

Shiv Sena to organise Azaan recitation competition, party leader calls it as important as ‘Maha Aarti’

Shiv Sena is to bear the cost of the event and will also reward the contest winners.

Recently Popular

SFJ ads appear on YouTube offering $10m support for farmers, in return, wants Sikhs to join ‘Khalistan movement’: Details

Amid ongoing farmers’ protests in Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi, it is evident that Khalistani supporters have hijacked the protests and now, they are running ads on YouTube

Wife of late Wajid Khan writes on her sufferings in an inter-faith marriage, says anti-conversion law should be nationalised

Wife of late music composer Wajid Khan wrote how her husband and his family had been forcing her to convert to Islam after their marriage

Shiv Sena to organise Azaan recitation competition, party leader calls it as important as ‘Maha Aarti’

Shiv Sena is to bear the cost of the event and will also reward the contest winners.

Indian Idol contestant reveals how she faced opposition from conservative Muslim society as singing is ‘not allowed’

The Indian Idol contestant revealed how women in her society are looked down upon if they try to excel in any field.

His family called our children ‘illegitimate’ because I didn’t convert to Islam’: Late music composer Wajid Khan’s wife reveals

Wajid Khan's wife has stated to Times of India that the late music composer's family never accepted her wedding under the Special Marriages Act because she had refused to convert to Islam.

Indian man proposes to his Australian girlfriend during Ind vs Aus cricket match, here is what happened next

While India's performance has been below par, netizens found happiness in the unusual proposal that became the highlight of the match.

After Barkha Dutt failed to whitewash Khalistan supporter Deep Sidhu, Shekhar Gupta’s The Print picks up the pieces

Actor Deep Sidhu continues to refuse to call Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale a terrorist while he keeps participating in farmer protests

Pilibhit: 12-year-old boy escapes from madrassa alleging he was chained and tortured by his teacher

A 12-year-old boy was beaten by head of the Al-Jamiatul Razvia Madinatul Islam madrassa in Pilibhit after he tried to go home

Father of Shehla Rashid files complaint against her saying she’s threatening him with life, accuses her of being involved in ‘notorious activities’

The father of the career-protestor-turned-politician Shehla Rashid claims the latter being involved in 'notorious activities'

Private procurements from Adnai group helped eliminate middlemen and generate more income, reveals apple farmers from Himachal Pradesh

Apple Orchard manager Manjeet Singh Dhillon informed that Adani group had been purchasing apples from farmers since 2006.

Eight months after cutting water supply of migrants to drive them away in middle of pandemic, Arvind Kejriwal govt offers free water to protesting...

Delhi Jal Board VP and AAP MLA Raghav Chadha himself went to Burari to ensure water tankers are available for protesting farmers

‘Shaheen Bagh returns’: Netizens react as protesting ‘farmers’ served biryani at Ghazipur in New Delhi

Biryani at the ongoing farmers' protest brings back memories of the 'organic' Shaheen Bagh protests

Farmer group bats for ‘middlemen’, hails them as ‘service providers’ while scare-mongering about reforms in agriculture sector

Protesting farmers say that they are happy to pay commission to middlemen, claims new farm laws are not needed for their protection

Protests against farm laws are based on rumours and misinformation: PM Modi punctures holes in the propaganda surrounding farm laws

PM Modi noted, "The government is consistently addressing the fears and queries of farmers who are anxious about the government's decision."

Not ‘just a municipal election’, a defeat of TRS in the Hyderabad Municipal Elections will alter the political discourse of the state

Not just top BJP leaders, top TRS leaders are also campaigning hard for the GHMC elections, making it more than just a municipal election

Former PMO official from UPA era gets excited at ‘New Zealand MP supporting farmers,’ except that no MP from New Zealand supported

The former advisor to Manmohan Singh shared a Tweet by Canadian politician to claim that a 'New Zealand' MP is supporting the Punjab farmers' protest

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
491,445FollowersFollow
20,200SubscribersSubscribe