Team back from Lhasa with stolen idols
Kathmandu, June 21:
A three-member government team which had gone to Lhasa to bring back idols and a stupa stolen from a Dolpa monastery arrived in Kathmandu today.
The team under Ek Mani Nepal — the under secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs — has brought with them the idols and the stupa.
According to Nepal, Liu Yaohua, the deputy director general at the foreign affairs office in Tibet, handed him over the idols and the stupa yesterday. “We have kept them in the Kathmandu Valley Metropolitan Police Office for now,” he said.
Two sealed boxes weighing 130 kg and containing the idols and the stupa will be handed over to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA). The ministry will then make the idols public after verification.
The other members of the team comprised script specialists Shyam Sundar Rajbanshi from the Department of Archaeology and the vice-chairman of the Yetser Jangchur Ling Monastery in Dolpa, Orgyan Dorje Gurung.
“We are very thankful to the government of China for their great support in bringing back the stolen idols,” Gurung said. “Our dream has come true and we can now install the idols in their original places and worship them,” he added.
Rajbanshi said the bringing back of the idols has been possible because of the positive attitude of China towards Nepal.
Twenty-seven idols of Buddha and a stupa were stolen on August 16, 2005 from the Yetser monastery in Saldang VDC in Dolpa district and taken to Lhasa. The idol thieves had also tried to kill three priests of the monastery then. The six thieves have been reportedly executed by the order of a court in Lhasa, Gurung said.
According to the complaint filed by the monastery at the ministry, the idols dated back to the 15th century.
Prakash Darnal, the MoCTCA under secretary and the chief of the Culture Preservation and Promotion Division, said the ministry will first study the idols and file their records before handing them over to the monastery.
Source: The Himalayan Times