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01/03/24 | 2:03 pm

Customs Department returns seized antiquities to Archaeological Survey of India

The handover ceremony, conducted virtually, was presided over by Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to repatriating stolen artifacts to India.

Some of these artifacts will be displayed at 'Dharohar'—the National Museum of Customs & CGST in Goa.

In 2003, the Mumbai Customs Department intercepted a syndicate exporting artifacts through postal services from India to France, seizing five Khanjars from the medieval period. These Khanjars are distinguished by intricate leaf designs in the Meenakari style, with hilts featuring floral motifs, animal head shapes, and unique fish scale decorations. One hilt is crafted from a rare black-coloured semi-precious stone, and the covers are adorned in Koftgiri style with silver inlays.

A year later, in 2004, the same syndicate was caught importing a Damascus folding knife from Japan. Dating back to the British era, this folding knife showcases the craftsmanship of its time, with a wooden hilt and a brown-coloured leather cover.

The unauthorized export of antiquities is strictly prohibited under the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972.

(Inputs from ANI)

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