India Looks To Create 'Open Market' for Antiquities: Critics Say It Will Encourage Looting

28 May 2015 8:27 AM | Anonymous

India Looks To Create 'Open Market' For Antiquities; Critics Say It Will Encourage Looting

By Kathleen Caulderwood @kcaulderwood

Policymakers in India want to create an “open market” for the antiquities trade, in an attempt to deter smugglers from exporting ancient items out of the country illegally. But archaeologists and art experts say legalizing the trade might not be the best solution, and could make the problem worse.

Culture Minister Mahesh Shrama has proposed revising India’s Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, which forbids anyone except the government to export antiquities. Right now, any artifact older than 100 years old qualifies as “cultural patrimony” in India.

“Let India have an open market,” he said, according to a report in India’s Economic Times. “Once we allow the trade of those antiquities in India, this smuggling will stop.”

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