05/10/2015 5:45 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Germany Restores Stolen Durga Idol From India Found In Linden Museum

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, left, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose for a photograph with a 10th centery idol of Hindu Goddess Durga, that was returned by Germany, in New Delhi, India, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Merkel is on a three-day visit to India. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

NEW DELHI -- Germany today returned to India a 10th century Durga idol which had gone missing from a temple in Kashmir over two decades back and was later found in that country.

The idol was handed over by visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after their talks here, three years after it was spotted in a museum in Stuttgart.

Modi thanked Merkel and the people of Germany for returning the idol, saying "The statue is from Jammu and Kashmir and is a symbol of victory of good over evil."

The idol in Mahishasuramardini avatar was stolen from a temple at Pulwama in Kashmir in the 1990s, official sources said. An FIR was registered in connection with the theft.

In 2012, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) received a tip-off that the idol was spotted at the Linden Museum, Stuttgart.

Thereafter, the government started the process of getting it back. Two ASI officials visited Stuttgart for the purpose last year.

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