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India brought back more than 200 precious idols since 2014, says PM Modi in 'Mann Ki Baat'

New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that India has brought back more than 200 precious idols in the last seven years which were stolen or smuggled in the past in contrast to just 13 of them retrieved before 2014. In the 86th edition of 'Mann Ki Baat', PM Modi said, "Till 2013, just 13 idols were retrieved. But after 2014 India has successfully brought back more than 200 precious idols." The Prime Minister credited India's growing soft power for the other countries coming forward to help retrieve the smuggled idols from India. "Nations where these idols were smuggled to now realise and feel India's attachment to the stolen heritage. They note the importance attached with such idols in India," said PM Modi.PM Modi began the 'Mann Ki Baat' with a special mention about the idols that India successfully brought back from Italy and Australia in recent times and said that Avalokiteshwara Padmapani is dated more than 1,000 years old. "At the beginning of this month, India has been successful in bringing its precious heritage from Italy. It is Avalokiteshwara Padmapani, which is an idol older than more than 1,000 years. It was stolen a few years ago from Gaya's Devisthan Kunlandpur temple. But after a lot of effort, India has got back the statue. Similarly, a few years ago, Bhagwan Anjaneyar, Hanuman Ji's idol, was stolen from Vellore in Tamil Nadu which was nearly 700 years old. At the beginning of this month, it was handed over to Indian Mission in Australia," PM Modi said. The Prime Minister said that bringing these idols back to the country is a "responsibility towards mother India" as they are "part of India's soul and faith". "Over a thousand years in our history magnificent idols and statues were sculptured in every corner of India. Each of our idols reflects its own time. Not only were they unique examples of Indian sculpture skills, but our faiths were also tied with them. But in the past, many idols were stolen and smuggled from India to different countries. For them, the stolen objects were just idols. These idols are part of India's soul and faith," he said.

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