Buddha idol recovered in 2005 handed over to Indian Museum

Express news service, March 30, 2008

Kolkata, India -- The state police officially handed over the six inches-long ancient Buddha idol - deemed a national treasure - to the Indian Museum authorities on Saturday.

At present, the police and the Indian Museum authorities are engaged in a debate over the metal used in the idol, which was recovered by the police on July 18, 2005 from smugglers in the Budge Budge area.

According to the police, the statue is made of gold. Museum authorities, however, maintained that bronze was used to create the statue. Professor

Gopinath Ghosh, head of the museum’s archaeology department said: “The statue is made of bronze and has a greenish tinge. The police claimed it is made of gold and even produced a certificate given by a local goldsmith. It is probably an idol dating back to the mid 19th century and was made in Nepal. It shows the Buddha in meditation.”

Meanwhile, Gourishanker Kanjilal, IC Budge Budge said, “The idol is a national treasure. We have handed it to the authorities concerned after the Governor’s sanction.”

The idol, weighing 4 kg and 95 gm, was produced in the court of chief judicial magistrate in Alipore and was declared a national treasure on April 9, 2006.

According to museum authorities, the idol is being kept in the museum store and will be evaluated by scholars shortly. Thereafter, it will be displayed to the public.