Delhi: Jain Organisation Files Cybercrime Complaint Against Mumbai Auctioneer Over Sale Of Ancient Idols

Delhi: Jain Organisation Files Cybercrime Complaint Against Mumbai Auctioneer Over Sale Of Ancient Idols

The Vishwa Jain Sangathan has also written to the Mumbai Police to book the auctioneer and requested central agencies to investigate the international syndicate involved in trading of stolen religious idols.

Dhairya GajaraUpdated: Tuesday, April 02, 2024, 09:12 PM IST
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Delhi: Jain Organisation Files Cybercrime Complaint Against Mumbai Auctioneer Over Sale Of Ancient Idols |

Mumbai: A Jain organisation has filed a cybercrime complaint in Delhi against a Mumbai-based auctioneer who has put up ancient Jain idols for auction in Mumbai. The Vishwa Jain Sangathan has also written to the Mumbai Police to book the auctioneer and requested central agencies to investigate the international syndicate involved in trading of stolen religious idols.

The Jain community has expressed resentment against an auction of ancient idols depicting Jain tirthankaras and yakshinis, worth Rs. 94.50 lakhs, that is scheduled to be held on April 16 in Mumbai. The Vishwa Jain Sangathan, a religious and social service society of Delhi has filed a cyber crime complaint with the cyber cell of Delhi Police against Farokh Todywalla of the Todywalla Auctions for auctioning and selling antiquity online.

The Todywalla Auctions has organised an auction of Classical Indian Art including ancient paintings, textiles, sculptures and decorative arts at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai.

This auction includes 17 ancient stone and metal sculptures of Jain tirthankaras and yakshinis, some of them dating back to as old as the seventh century.

Some of these idols include a 9th-century jain tirthankara sandstone, 12th-century tirthankara Neminath sandstone, 17th-century bronze shrine of tirthankara Parshwanath, 15th-century bronze altarpiece of Ambika and 18th-century bronze figure of Padmavati among others. The collection also includes copper and silver inlaid bronze shrines of Jain monks as well as sand and metal idols of Buddha, Vishnu and Shiva.

The Vishwa Jain Sangathan, that filed a complaint against the auctioneer has also written to the Mumbai police commissioner alleging that this auction has hurt the religious sentiments of the community and has violated their right of freedom of religion and right to propagate their religion.

“The auction of ancient Jain idols on the internet is the violation of the constitutional rights of the Jain community as a whole which is not acceptable to any reasonable and fair person in a free and democratic set-up,” read the letter.

The organisation has requested the Mumbai police to pursue legal action against the auction house and register a case under the Antiquities Act. They have also requested that all the idols should be handed over to the Jain community to be placed in various Jain temples for worshipping.

This auction has also raised concerns within the community of an international syndicate illegally trading antique idols and sculptures. The organisation has also written to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Archaeological Survey of India and Ministry of Culture to bring a halt on the illegal trade.

Talking to the Free Press Journal, Sanjay Kumar Jain, national president of VIshwa Jain Sangathan, said, “These Jain idols and sculptures belong to various parts of India as per the auctioneer’s website, which means that at some point of time they would have been stolen from our temples and illegally exported to other countries, from where they are being imported back to be auctioned. This is a big racket and central agencies should sincerely investigate this matter for the betterment of all the religious communities.”

The Free Press Journal contacted Malcolm Todywalla from Todywalla auctions, who refuted the allegations saying that the goods will be sold in a floor auction and only its marketing has been done online. “We are licensed by the government and the ASI for getting goods from the collectors and auctioning them.

Our prime minister has also brought back articles of cultural importance to India and we, being inspired from him, are also trying to import our cultural heritage back to India but it has been taken in a negative manner. If the prime minister can do it, so can any ordinary citizen and collectively we can bring a lot of such cultural articles back to the country,” he said.

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