Germany on Monday returned to India a 10th century Durga idol that had gone missing from a temple in Kashmir over two decades ago.
The idol was handed over by visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after their talks here, three years after it was spotted in a museum in Stuttgart. Mr. Modi thanked Ms. Merkel and the people of Germany, saying: “The statue is from Jammu and Kashmir and is a symbol of victory of good over evil.”
The idol in Mahishasuramardini avatar was stolen from a temple at Pulwama in Kashmir in the 1990s, sources said. An FIR was registered in connection with the theft.
In 2012, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) received a tip-off that the idol was at the Linden Museum, Stuttgart. Two ASI officials visited Stuttgart to begin the process of recovering the idol last year.
With the FIR, which is crucial evidence that the idol belonged to India, the government took up the issue with the authorities in Germany.
Notorious art dealer Subhash Kapoor is said to be behind the smuggling of the idol.