18:10 GMT03 August 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The exquisite statue of Lord Natesh Shiva, the king of dancers, was in the possession of a private collector in London, who returned the idol to the High Commission of India in the UK in 2005. It was stolen in February 1998 from India's Ghateshwar Temple in Baroli, Rajasthan state.

    Over two decades after being stolen and smuggled to Britain, a 10th century Lord Shiva statue is set to be repatriated to India. The four-foot-tall statue will be handed over to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Thursday.

    ​The Indian authorities alerted officials in the UK in 2003, when it was found that the idol has been smuggled to London. A private collector then voluntarily returned the idol to the Indian High Commission in 2005.

    Ever since, the idol was on display at the HCI. In 2017, a team of ASI officials examined the idol and confirmed the authenticity of the Indian relic.

    In the recent past, three 6th and 8th-century artefacts were returned to India by Australia. These had been smuggled by a New York-based art smuggler, Subhash Kapoor.

    From 2018-2019, the US has repatriated at least four artefacts to India, including a 17th century bronze idol of Navanitha Krishna, a 2nd century limestone carved pillar motif and a bronze statue of Lord Buddha.

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    God, idol, UK, smuggling, smuggler, India
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