Rare Buddhist artefacts recovered near Indo-Nepal border in West Bengal

ANI, May 27, 2007

Rajarammohanpur, West Bengal (India) -- Customs officials have recovered as many as 22 rare Buddhist artefacts from an abandoned house at Panitanki located on India-Nepal border.

Acting on a tip-off, a team of custom officials raided an abandoned house at Panitanki in West Bengal.

Officials said that a probe is being carried out to ascertain the origin of the artefacts.

"It is not yet confirmed if it was coming from Nepal. We had got information that they were lying unclaimed in an abandoned house. We recovered them," said Om Prakash, Customs Inspector.

The artefacts have been handed over to the Siliguri-based North Bengal University (NBU) to ascertain their historical value.

Experts said that the structure and images suggest that these relics are over a century old.

"Definitely, all these have a great historical value. Particularly, the ones with Buddhist tantric influence and also all these object from the sub-Himalayan region. Definitely, it has a great historical value," said Ratna Roy Sanyal, Director of the museum at the NBU.

Nepal, shares a 1,747-kilometer long border with India. The border which passes through West Bengal is particularly vulnerable.

Scant security allows for smugglers to bring in a variety of goods to cater to the needs of a wide clientele.