UK Police Return Buddha Statue to India 57 Years After Theft

LONDON (AP) — Police in London have returned a 12th century statue of Buddha to India after recovering it 57 years after it was stolen.

The ancient Buddha statue handed over to the Indian government on Aug. 15, 2018, was stolen 57 years ago from an Indian museum and found its way to UK’s art-dealer market. (AP Photo/Nishat Ahmed)

Police handed over the bronze statue with silver inlay during a ceremony Wednesday in London marking India’s Independence Day.

The Buddha was one of 14 statues stolen from a museum in Nalanda, eastern India, in 1961.

Police were called after representatives from the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art and the India Pride Project noticed the statue at a trade fair. The dealer and the owner cooperated fully and, upon learning the item had been stolen, agreed to return it.

Detective Constable Sophie Hayes says the case is “a true example of cooperation between law enforcement, the trade and scholars.”

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