Authorities in Nepal turn blind eye to artifact thefts

Published on May 20th, 2009 | by Admin

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Locals in Kathmandu, Nepal say authorities have turned a blind eye to the thefts taking place at many small temples.

Badri Puri, 82, who has been working as a watchman at the Bishworup temple and the area for the last 60 years, says the thieves work under the cover of night, and are making hay due to poor security arrangements in the area. “Thefts are on the rise,” he says. “As a result, the beauty of these temples has been diminished.”

Two years ago, the 17th-century granite idol of Shankar Narayan was stolen from the heavily-guarded Pashupatinath temple, while a 200-year-old Dipankar Buddha stolen from Patan in 2002 surfaced in Austria five months later after a German art dealer tried to sell it to the Ethnographic Museum in Vienna for $180,000.

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