India's stolen heritage: Authorities push for restitution of religious artefacts

An Indian newspaper report alleges that New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art is home to 77 smuggled antiquities. According to UNESCO estimates, some 50,000 pieces of art stolen from Indian temples are currently in Western museums or private collections. Faced with this enormous challenge, police forces, international institutions and art enthusiasts are working together to dismantle art mafias and bring back India's stolen idols. Our correspondents report.

Is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York displaying stolen objects from India? According to an Indian Express investigation published this Tuesday, March 14, some 77 antiquities listed in the MET's catalogue were donated to the museum by an Indian art dealer who has since been sentenced to 10 years in prison for art trafficking.

Since 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it his mission to bring back home works of art that were stolen during and after British colonialism. Often, these include statues and paintings of Hindu and Buddhist deities. These idols find their way to art galleries and are auctioned off for several million euros.

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