Stolen ‘Panchaloha Murugan’ to be returned to Lanka



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By Saman Indrajith


Sri Lanka was discussing modalities with the Indian authorities to regain the ‘Panchaloha Murugan’ idol, which had been smuggled to Tamil Nadu in 2006, Cultural Affairs Ministry sources said yesterday.


Secretary to the Ministry of National Heritage and Cultural Affairs Wimal Rubasinghe told The Island that they were in the process of making preparations to obtain the statue from the Tamil Nadu authorities. He said the Ministry was collecting information about the statue to support its claim.


It was a rare panchaloha idol belonging to the Verugalampathi Chitira Velayutha Swamy Kovil in Muttur. The idol is believed to be over 300 years old and priceless.


Director General of the Department of Archaeology Dr. Senerath Dissanayake told The Island that Sri Lanka welcomed the decision of the Tamil Nadu State government to return the artifact. "We have not yet decided whether this statue would be installed at its original place or at the National Museum. Normally, an artifact of religious, cultural and social value would be returned to its original place. But, if we are not satisfied with the security and protection of the statue at the Muttur Kovil, then we’ll have to place it at the National Museum due to its value. Nothing has been finalised in this regard so far," he said.


The Tamil Nadu State government authorities on September 13 indicated that they were ready to hand over Murugan idol to the Sri Lankan authorities. The idol is currently kept at a well-guarded icon centre in Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu.


The statue was missing from the sanctum sanctorium of the Verugalampathi Chitira Velayutha Swamy Kovil and had been smuggled to India during the violence in 2006.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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