New Delhi (Sputnik): Earlier this year in January, customs officials in West Bengal seized six antique idols valued at more than $1.4 million (INR 110 million) in Islampur city. The haul included two idols of Lord Vishnu which are believed to date from the 11th and 12th centuries.
The Customs (Preventive) Department of India’s West Bengal state has seized 25 antiques that were being transported to Bangladesh, an official said on Wednesday.
The idols were examined by experts who confirmed they were antiques dating from different eras, ranging from the 9th Century AD to the 16th Century AD.
The antiques were confiscated on Sunday night (23 August) while being smuggled across the Kaliyaganj border hidden in a truck full of paddy, said a senior official of the department.
“These 25 seized artefacts worth $4.7 million (INR 350 million) are a cultural heritage of India and comprise seven stone idols of several goddesses, several lords, metallic artefacts made of bronze and octo alloy used for casting metallic idols in Hindu and Jain Temples and terracotta idols, which were being taken to Bangladesh,” the official said.
“Officers of the Preventive Commissionerate intercepted a vehicle carrying 25 antique idols at a remote area in th eSouth Dinajpur district of West Bengal,” the official added.