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Koh-i-Noor diamonds May Return To India

By Super

Indian authorities have finally decided to retrieve thousands of looted Indian treasures which now boast in Western museum.

The head of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Dr. Gautam Sengupta, revealed that the list of Indian tresures abroad is "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.

The first in the list is the greatest loss, The Koh-i-Noor diamonds which reportedly was "presented" to Queen Victoria in 1849 by Dilip Singh, the youngest son of Ranjit Singh, the Maharaja of Lahore.

Critics however believe that the diamonds was not gifted but Dilip Singh was forced to handover the Koh-i-Noor. He was forced to surrender by then British governor general, Lord Dalhousie.

The next in the charts is Sultanganj Buddha, named after the town in northeastern India where it was found. It was dug out of an abandoned Buddhist monastery in 1861 along with other priceless artifacts under the direction of E B Harris, a pith-helmeted functionary of the British Raj.

The 1,500-year-old bronze statue was then shipped to Britain after a Birmingham industrialist, Samuel Thornton, secured it for 200 pounds.

Now the so-called "Birmingham Buddha" is one of the artifacts at the top of a list of "stolen treasures".

Then there is the Amravati railings, a series of limestone carvings dating from around AD100, acquired from a Buddhist temple in Andhra Pradesh by Victorian explorers.

There is also the Saraswati idol, a sculpture of the Hindu deity from the Bhoj temple.

Dr. Sengupta revealed that India is looking forward to join a campaign with the support of UNESCO, the United Nations body, to preserve global heritage, alongside 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.

"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 confirmed.

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