Antique Buddha statue stolen from Orissa

The Times of India, Jan 31, 2008

BARGARH, Orissa (India) -- A priceless antique statue of Lord Buddha was stolen and another damaged by unidentified persons at Ganiapali village, about 65 km from here, police said on Thursday.

The statue, believed to be of the 5th century era, was stolen by unknown persons on Wednesday night from the village under Melchamunda police station area, Superintendent of Police Sanjay Kumar Panda said.

Another Buddha statue was damaged and its head broken, he said adding that investigation was on and efforts were in progress to trace the culprits.

Both the statues, about two feet high, were in sitting postures with canopies over their heads, local historians and experts said.

Local residents alleged that ancient structures and statues in the area were being stolen and getting damaged due to negligence and apathy on the part of concerned authorities.

Ancient bricks excavated from the area resemble those belonging to the Kushan period, said Narayan Pruseth, a noted historian from the area. These bricks are of the size of 14x8x2.5 inch, he said adding that these have striking similarities with the bricks of Kushan period.