9th century Buddha idol seized in Siliguri

ANI, December 23, 2004

Siliguri, India -- Custom officials in Siliguri seized an antique Buddha idol, claimed to be of the 9th century. The officials arrested two men in this regard, who were trying to smuggle the idol out of the country to neighbouring Nepal.

Superintendent of Naxalbari Customs Preventive Divisional Unit Paresh Sarkar said that the idol was hidden in the house of the accused for a month and he planned to smuggle it to Nepal soon.

"According to the accused, he recovered it (the idol) from north Itahat area.He hid it in his house for one month. His house is in Itahat at Bangladesh border. From there it was going to be transported to Nepal border," said Sarkar.

The idol made out of sandstone is said to be a rare model of Buddha and is estimated to be worth 10 million rupees. Unauthorised dealing in antiques is banned under the Antiquity and Art Treasure Act (AATA).