Kendrapara, May 3: Unidentified burglars yesterday broke open the hundi (donation box) of a 300-year-old Baldevjew temple and decamped with cash, gold, silver ornaments and other valuables donated by devotees.
The burglary occurred in spite of police being on vigil close to the temple that dates back to the reign of the Marathas. This is the first incident of burglary to take place at the temple. Devotees and followers of the Baldevjew cult expressed shock over the incident.
“A section of servitors first saw the broken hundi. They brought it to the notice of the temple management. The wooden box in which devotees used to drop donations had been broken open and looted,” said Akshaya Kumar Pani, a trustee of the temple.
The temple executive officer has lodged an FIR. But the burglars are yet to be arrested or the stolen donations recovered, he added.
“Police have started investigation after receiving the FIR. Preliminary investigation points towards involvement of persons who have unrestricted access to the temple. A night watchman who was on duty when the burglary took place has been taken into custody and is being questioned,” said Ranjan Kumar Dey, inspector, Kendrapara police station.
“Investigation is under way. We are hopeful that the culprits will be nabbed soon,” he added.
Police patrol is maintained outside the temple complex while the inner complex is guarded by staff deployed by the temple management. It was lapses on the part of the temple staff on night duty that resulted in the burglary, Dey said.