Chennai, Apr 23 The Madras High Court Tuesday issued notice to the External Affairs Ministry and others on a PIL seeking recovery of stolen antique articles, including the Anaimangalam copper plates and statues of a Chola emperor, which it said where in some foreign countries.
A special bench comprising Justice R Mahadevan and Justice P D Audikesavalu, constituted to deal with idol matters, issued notice to the Union Ministry of Culture, the Foreign Secretary and others returnable by two weeks.
Petitioner B Jagannath, an advocate of the Madras High Court, submitted that idols from Chudamani Vihara, a Bhuddist monastery in Nagapattinam that existed during the ancient times, and various Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu and other parts of the country were stolen over a period of time and auctioned to the highest bidder in international market.
Some of them, including Anaimangalam copper plates of the Chola era, were now kept in Leiden University in the Netherlands and some other countries, he claimed.
Describing details of the statues and other copper items and presenting photos, the petitioner said he had sent a representation to the respondents on September 5, 2018 seeking steps to recover the stolen items.
Alleging that no concrete steps had been taken to bring back the idols and statues and sculptures -- most importantly the Anaimangalam Copper plates of the Raja Raja Cholan regime of 10th century AD, the petitioner said hence he was moving the court.
He sought a direction to the authorities to form a joint special recovery team comprising officials from the Centre and the Tamil Nadu Government and recover all the articles and statues as mentioned in his representation from the respective countries. CORR VS SMN SMN
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