Return of Ancient Artifacts of India
Recently India has requested the Scottish Museums to return the ancient artifacts of India, as these stolen ancient artifacts are part of the historical heritage of India.
In the year 2013, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) released a report on the Maintenance and Conservation of Monuments and Antiquities.
According to this report, 131 antiquities from different monuments/sites and 37 antiquities from site museums were stolen from 1981 to 2012.
However, only 19 antiquities were recovered from 1976 to 2001. Since the year 2001, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has not achieved any success in this.
Legal Framework for Indian Antiquities
The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, deals with the protection of ancient and historical monuments including antiquities.
- The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972: Under this, the ASI undertakes to recover stolen or illegally exported artefacts. For this it regulates the export trade of antiquities and valuable artefacts.
- National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities: It has created a National Register on Unprotected Artifacts.
- The National Mission for Manuscripts: It documents heritage.
- In addition, India is a signatory to the ‘UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
- However, India has not signed the 1995 UNIDROIT (International Institute for the Unification of the Private Law) Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Goods.
Source – The Hindu