1. The History Behind ‘Bone Smuggling’
Bone smuggling had been rampant in India for decades, if not centuries. According to The New York Times best-selling author Scott Carney – in a 2009 investigative report in Wired – India had exported about 60,000 skulls and skeletons in 1984.
This number was fairly consistent up until 1985, when the Indian government the export of human remains, CNN reported . The government’s decision to “outlaw” the export of human parts came after being pressured by human rights groups, which called the trade “unethical” – and also due to a rising number of grave thefts and even murders.
Up until the practice was “outlawed”, it was for the most part considered legal. The article by Carney quoted a former president of the Indian Association of Exporters of Anatomical Specimens, Bimalendu Bhattacharjee, who told the Los Angeles Times in 1991:
The same article claims that at this point of time, Kolkata's bone factories were the most notorious within the Indian market and took in an estimated $1 million a year.