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Interpol asked to help retrieve stolen buddhas

Interpol asked to help retrieve stolen buddhas

Bangladesh asked Interpol yesterday to help trace two stolen 1,500-year statues that were supposed to be flown to an exhibition in France.
The terra-cotta statues of Vishnu, one of the most revered figures in the Hindu faith, were stolen late Sunday from a high-security cargo area at Dhaka's Zia International Airport in the capital, Dhaka, the government's cultural affairs adviser Ayub Quadri said.
The statues, insured for a total of US$65,000, were stolen late Sunday and are believed to be about 1,500 years old.
"We have asked police to find the rare objects at any cost," Quadri said. "We are investigating how the statues were stolen. We are determined to find them."
"We have sent a message to the Interpol to help trace the rare relics," the country's police chief Nur Mohammad told reporters. "We will provide the Interpol with the necessary information."
He did not provide further details.
The stolen artifacts were among 143 that Bangladesh had agreed to send to France for an exhibition at the Guimet Museum in Paris due to open early next year, officials said.
After the theft police detained 12 airport employees, including security staff and cargo handlers, Quadri said. Two were later released.
Artifacts occasionally disappear from museums in Bangladesh, said Shamsuzzaman Khan, a former head of the Bangladesh National Museum.
Border guards and customs officials often catch people trying to smuggle valuables out of the country.
"These are masterpieces and very valuable to our cultural heritage," Khan said. "The government should not have agreed to send them abroad."
In a statement in Dhaka, the French Embassy labeled the incident "suspicious" and said "it could be the result of a conspiracy to embarrass France and Bangladesh." It did not elaborate.


Updated : 2021-04-20 12:40 GMT+08:00