| Nilakantheswar temple at Baramunda in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Ashwinee Pati |
Bhubaneswar, Aug. 10: A temple at Baramunda in the city was burgled last night. The thieves stole gold ornaments from the deity and cash after breaking open the donation box.
Nilakantheswar temple administration officials said the stolen ornaments cost more than Rs 3 lakh and there was more than Rs 50,000 in cash in the donation box.
Temple priest Sadasiv Dixit said he had closed the main gate at midnight before going home yesterday. “When I came to the temple this morning, I saw the main gate open. The room where the deity sits was also open and the gold ornaments on the idol were missing. We immediately informed police,” said Dixit.
“It seems to be the act of small-time criminals or drug addicts who target such places for petty cash or jewellery. We suspect the involvement of some nearby slum dwellers or drug addicts residing in that area,” said a senior officer of Khandagiri police station.
Last year, there were several cases of late night burglaries at various temples in Kharavela Nagar. The burglaries had stopped after the police arrested some habitual drug addicts and chain snatchers.
The instances of burglary have gone up this year in the city as compared to last year. In the first seven months of 2011, 131 cases of burglary were registered. The figure has climbed to 149 during the same period this year. Apart from unguarded establishments such as temples, thieves have also been targeting houses in the central part of the city, at times during the day.
“We could hardly see the police patrolling our area despite it being less than 1km from the Khandagiri police station. Since last night’s burglary, we have spotted police vehicles patrolling here every hour. But it remains to be seen how long they continue with this patrolling schedule,” said Arup Bastia, a resident of Baramunda.
Director general of police Prakash Mishra had held a meeting with officers of commissionerate police here on Wednesday to discuss the crime scenario. He asked police officers to take action in order to put a brake on the rising crime graph. Security has been beefed up in the capital city since Wednesday.