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Posted at: Mar 31, 2016, 12:22 AM; last updated: Mar 31, 2016, 12:22 AM (IST)

Stolen Durga idol returns to Valley after 25 years

Stolen Durga idol returns to Valley after 25 years
The 10th-century Durga idol in ‘Mahishasuramardini avtar’.
To be displayed in Srinagar museum

*The 18-armed Durga idol in ‘Mahishasuramardini avtar’ was stolen from a temple in Pulwama in 1990. This rare 10th-century artefact is made of lush greenstone

* The ASI had received a tip-off on the idol being spotted in Germany in 2012. It later surfaced in the collection of Linden Museum at Stuttgart.

*The idol will be put on display at the Srinagar’s Shri Pratap Singh Museum, which is likely to be inaugurated next month.

M Aamir Khan

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 30

After 25 long years, J&K has finally got possession of an ancient 10th-century Durga idol that was stolen from a temple at Pulwama in south Kashmir. The Durga idol in ‘Mahishasuramardini avtar’ will be put on display here at the new Shri Pratap Singh Museum, which is likely to be inaugurated next month.

Stolen from Pulwama’s Tengpora village in 1990, the idol had later been spotted at the Linden State Museum for Ethnology in Germany and was brought back to India after many efforts from the government.

“An FIR had been lodged in 1990 after the idol was stolen. While the idol had later surfaced in the collection of Linden Museum at Stuttgart in Germany, it was brought back due to the efforts of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) through the support of the Central government. A team of our department has now received this rare sculpture from the ASI and the idol will be put on display at the new SPS Museum that is being inaugurated shortly,” Director, Archives, Archaeology and Museums, Mohammad Shafi Zahid told The Tribune.

He said the 18-armed Durga idol was made of ‘lush greenstone’ and was a ‘rare artefact’ that would attract art lovers from all over the world once put on display.

Zahid said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had received the idol from German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to India in October last year.

Later, the Directorate of Archives, Archaeology and Museums, Jammu and Kashmir, had taken up the issue of returning the idol to J&K with the ASI. Pertinently, the ASI had received a tip-off on the idol in Germany in 2012.

“The statue is from Jammu and Kashmir and is a symbol of victory of good over evil,” Modi had stated after receiving the idol from Merkel.

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