Union Minister of Culture and Tourism G Kishan Reddy. (ANI Photo)
New Delhi: Union Minister of Culture and Tourism G Kishan Reddy on Thursday said that 75 per cent of our stolen heritage was returned during the seven years of the Narendra Modi government.
In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Reddy said that a total of 54 antiquities have been retrieved from foreign countries till date since 1976.
Speaking later, Union Minister said "It is a matter of pride that we have been able to retrieve many of our stolen heritage objects from abroad. The number of antiquities recovered in the last seven years is the highest ever. Since 2014, India has repatriated 41 heritage objects back to India which is more than 75 per cent of the total objects returned.
Reddy also credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose relentless efforts led to the retrieval of these antiquities from abroad. "I believe that the recent success is because of our continuously improving cultural relations that were made possible due to the warm personal relations that our Prime Minister shares with various heads of states and hence their expeditious return was made possible", he added.
He further alleged that the successive leaders of the Nehru-Gandhi family were more interested in accruing wealth for themselves rather than protecting India's cultural and civilisational wealth.
"Since 1976 the Congress government which has ruled for close to 25 years, brought back less than 10 antiquities. This shows a total lack of commitment and respect that successive Congress governments showed towards preserving our Indian civilizational heritage. Successive leaders of the Nehru-Gandhi family were more interested in accruing wealth for themselves rather than protecting India's cultural and civilisational wealth," Reddy said.
Reddy further lauded the tireless efforts of various government agencies like the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) among others in this endeavour.
"The preservation and protection of the Indian artefacts and cultural heritage are an integral component of India's foreign policy. Hence bringing back and the returning of these historical objects is a process to restore India's pride and an active step to appreciate and acknowledge the historical past of our country," the Union Minister said.