The Theft of History
Strong Law To Prevent Stealing of Artefacts
Despite domestic laws and international conventions, the theft and smuggling of illicit antiquities remain unabated.The Government estimation says the estimated production would reach about 46,000 tonnes, worth USD 320 million per annum.
Despite domestic laws and international conventions, the theft and smuggling of illicit antiquities remain unabated. As a result, stolen Indian artefacts surface in antique shops and auction houses across the world on a distressingly regular basis. The recent seizure of artefacts estimated at Rs. 90 crore from a storage facility of an antique dealer in New York by the U.S. customs officials confirms that archaeological sites, religious places and even museums in the country remain as vulnerable as ever. The illegal removal of objects from their archaeological setting erases critical historical information; and it depletes a nation’s cultural capital.
In 2003, the Ministry of Culture announced that it would amend the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act (1972) to make trading in stolen antiquities a non-bailable offence, prevent unauthorised production of replicas of antiquities and enhance the process of verification of art objects. However this has not been implemented. Even the database of existing antiquities is incomplete. In 2007, the National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities was launched to create a register of artefacts. After five years, only five lakh objects of the estimated eight lakh have been recorded.
Moreover Import controls are lax in some countries such as Switzerland, making them safe havens for smugglers. Criminal laws in market countries have not deterred buyers and dealers of tainted art objects. Many museums and collectors conveniently overlook the doubtful provenance of antiquities, making it easier for traders and themselves, to acquire stolen antiquities. It is imperative that India, working through international organisations such as UNESCO, persuade countries to give up their apathy.
Taking a cue from the success story of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, implemented in England and Wales, existing acts must be revised to encourage local communities voluntarily to report and register the discovery of artefacts with the help of experts. Museums have to be vastly improved to host antiquities in a meaningful manner and effectively perform their educative role. Setting up a well equipped, efficiently trained and dedicated investigating agency to track and prevent art theft is also critical.
TB screening for Indians seeking UK visa :
Following the figures of “high TB incidence” by World Health Organisation (WHO), UK extended its pre-entry TB screening programme to India and 66 other countries. From August 16, Indians planning to travel to UK for than six months will be screened for tuberculosis before they are given a visa under a pre-entry TB screening programme extended to India. However, the screening will not be required for those travelling for six months or less. The screening requirement will be extended to applications for work visas (Tiers 1, 2 and 5 of the points-based system) from 10 September 2012 and student visas (Tier 4) from 1 November 2012″. The Home Office announced that all such applicants would be required to submit a certificate from a local clinic approved by the British Government to show that they are “TB-free”. There will be a fee of Rs 1500 for screening,
to be borne by the applicant.
S.Korea Wins Rights To Undersea Mine in Indian Ocean :
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) unanimously agreed torecognise South Korea’s rights to the offshore mine that lies across an area of 10,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean Last Year, China was given exclusive rights to explore 10,000 square-km of seabed in the southwest Indian Ocean in an area off the coast of Africa.The site given to South Korea contains hydrothermal vents that could yield metals including gold, silver, copper, zinc and lead. The Government estimation says the estimated production would reach about 46,000 tonnes, worth USD 320 million per annum. South Korea is Asia’s fourth largest economy. Its economy is export-driven, with production focusing on electronics, automobiles, ships.
machinery, petrochemicals and robotics.