Two months after the Islamic State (IS) destroyed historical monuments and relics in Mosul, Nimrud and Khorsabad in Iraq, the Iraqi consulate in Mumbai has written to the Mumbai Police cautioning them that some of the artefacts stolen from the sites could fall into the hands of smugglers. The consulate has made a list of “23 historical statuettes and monuments” that have been stolen, when the monuments were razed by the IS in March at the three sites.
The letter accessed by The Indian Express lists the 23 items of the historical legacy of Iraq, like gold and copper artefacts including copper statuettes of birds stolen from Mosul, Khorsabad and Nimrud, and says they could be smuggled into India and find their way to the grey markets of Mumbai.
The letter was sent last week to the Protection and Security Wing of the Mumbai Police that secures embassies in Mumbai.
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“We have received a letter from the Iraqi consulate expressing concern over artefacts destroyed by the IS making their way to the grey market in Mumbai and other prominent cities,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Protection & Security) Kiran Shelar. “We have intimated the local Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCPs) to keep a watch on smuggling activities with special focus on items mentioned by the consulate,” he added.
Other than the Mumbai Police, the consulate has written to the Interpol on the likelihood of these rare artefacts, made of precious materials, being smuggled. “These artefacts might find many takers in South East Asian countries and therefore the consulate has also written to the Interpol asking them to keep a tab on smuggling activities in South East Asia,” a senior officer told The Indian Express. In March, the IS had destroyed three prominent sites of historical importance in Iraq — Nimrud, which was on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites, Khorsabad about 19 kilometres northeast of Mosul, and the Mosul museum. The outfit had also posted videos of the razing of the centuries-old monuments.