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Durga comes back in time for puja: Merkel returns stolen idol to Modi

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 5:23 IST

German Chancellor Angela Merkel reached India on 5 October, for her official visit and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a thoughtful gesture, she gifted Modi a 10th century idol of goddess Durga which had gone missing from a Kashmiri temple nearly two decades back and was later found in Germany.

  • The idol was spotted by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at Linden Museum in Stuggart, Germany, in 2012. Merkel handed it over to Modi after their talks.

  • Reportedly, the idol was stolen from a temple in Pulwama and sold to the museum at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore.

  • According to official sources, the idol represents the 'Mahishasurmadini' avatar of the goddess.

  • Subhash Kapoor, an Indian origin US citizen had smuggled the idol out of the country.

  • Kapoor was running an art gallery called 'art of past' in Manhattan, New York, before he was arrested by Tamil Nadu police on 14 July 2012.

  • As per a report in News World India, "The statue is from Jammu and Kashmir and is a symbol of victory of good over evil," said Modi while thanking her.

  • The ASI claims that Kapoor had stolen 30 other ancient artifacts and smuggled them out of the country, which includes 17th century Mahabharata manuscripts.

  • These artifacts were sold to Singapore's National Museum which has now asked ASI to furnish proof that it belongs to India.

First published: 5 October 2015, 7:45 IST