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Smuggling ancient religious statues from North to South escalates

[TamilNet, Sunday, 26 September 2010 08:00 No Comment]

The people of Vadamaraadchi on finding ancient statues of Saiva temples hidden under a bridge in Vadamaraadchi informed the police and handed over the man who had stolen them from the Saiva temples in Vadamaraadchi East occupied by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) Saturday, sources in Vadamaraadchi said. The man admitted that he had stolen the statues but information on where they were stolen from is yet not known. Historical artifacts from war affected Vanni by persons connected to occupying SLA soldiers and officers were taken to the South and sold to international antique dealers for large sums of money, sources in Vanni said.

The artifacts hidden under the bridge in Vadamaraadchi include bronze statues of Saiva deities and Naakam (Cobra).

It is suspected that the statues had been stolen from the temples in Naakarkoayil.

The Saiva temples and churches in Vanni had already been plundered of their sacred statues and properties by traders who had smuggled them to the South collaborating with the SLA personnel.

Even now the places in Vanni where people are not allowed to resettle the plundering of temples and churches goes on, sources in Vanni said.

In Vadamraaadchi East and in the SLA High Security Zone in Valikaamam North too the temples and churches have been robbed for the same purpose by unscrupulous traders with the help of SLA personnel.

This practice had been completely stopped during the period when the above areas were under the control of Liberation Tigers, the sources said.

Jaffna University too had organized structures to stop smuggling historical artifacts from North to South but these organizations are inactive now, the sources added.

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