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India seeks return of precious Kohinoor from UK

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has joined an international network for the return of priceless artefacts taken away during British rule, including the Kohinoor diamond and the Sultanganj Buddha.



London: The Archaeological Survey of India
(ASI) has joined an international network for the return of
priceless artefacts taken away during British rule, including
the Kohinoor diamond and the Sultanganj Buddha.

ASI director-general Gautam Sengupta said the list of
India`s treasures held abroad was "too long to handle" and
there was a need for a "diplomatic and legal campaign" for
their restitution from institutions, including the British
Museum, the Royal Collection and the Birmingham Museum and Art
Gallery.

Speaking to The Independent, Sengupta said that after
decades of unsuccessful unilateral lobbying, India was looking
to join a campaign with the support of UNESCO, and other
countries with longstanding complaints about the foreign
ownership of their artistic riches, including Egypt and
Greece.

"As efforts so far to reclaim stolen treasures have
proved futile, UNESCO support is required for launching an
international campaign to achieve this end.

"Not only India, various other countries like Mexico,
Peru, China, Bolivia, Cyprus and Guatemala also the voiced the
same concern to get back their stolen and looted antiquities
and to join the international campaign," Sengupta said.

While underlining the need to be "realistic" about the
chances of large numbers of items being returned, Sengupta
told the newspaper that a list of "unique items" that should
be returned to their home countries was being drawn up by each
of the participating countries.

"Once this list is ready, these countries will jointly
initiate a series of steps, including a diplomatic and legal
campaign to get back the lost treasures," he added.

Rita McLean, head of the Birmingham Museum, said: "We
have not received any official request for the return of the
Sultanganj Buddha. Any requests for restitution will be
treated on a case-by-case basis."

According to the newspaper report, the British Museum
said it was satisfied that the objects highlighted by the
Indian authorities had been acquired legitimately.

PTI

From Zee News

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