Idol theft anger at cops

The theft of an antique idol worth crores of rupees, along with jewelleries, from the century-old Marichi temple in Ayodhya under Nilgiri police limits on Tuesday night has angered residents.

By SIBDAS KUNDU in Balasore
  • Published 29.12.17
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INACTION CRY: The idol (bottom right) that has gone missing. Telegraph picture 

Balasore: The theft of an antique idol worth crores of rupees, along with jewelleries, from the century-old Marichi temple in Ayodhya under Nilgiri police limits on Tuesday night has angered residents.

The residents have said inaction of police and enforcement agencies were behind the frequent thefts in temples.

The latest incident reportedly took place on Tuesday night. The goons entered the temple's sanctum sanctorum by breaking the wall. They then decamped with the two-and-a-half foot black granite stone idol of Bajra Vairahi, which weighs nearly 70kg.

"The idol has been worshipped since the 11th century when it was installed by then ruler, Bhuyan Sardar. In 1540, the then ruler of Nilgiri kept it at the Marichi temple in Ayodhya. The stolen idol is priceless," said Jayant Mardaraj, a descendant of the royal family.

"In Ayodhya village one can find hundreds of antiques belonging to Buddhism and Jainism as well. These are smuggled for their high demand in the international market. According to an estimate, nearly 40 per cent of these antiques have gone missing. The government didn't take any interest to preserve them. There is a museum in the village, but there is none to take care of it," he said.

Research scholar and Ayodhya resident Anurag Mohapatra said the police should act tough to protect these gems. "Bajra Vairahi was worshipped by the Buddhists when they were transforming them from form to formless. The Buddhist tantriks worshipped Vairahi," he said.

"The temple and the idols need protection. More than 200 antiques have gone missing. The temple is now left with idols of Marichi, Vajrapani-Manjushree and Chintamani Lokesvara or Avalokitesvara. Thieves might one day decamp with these too," he said.

Nilgiri sub-divisional police officer Sudam Sahu said: "Efforts are on to trace the thieves."