Puducherry Temples hit with a series of Burglaries
If the reports from the Puducherry are to be believed, more than eight temples were burgled in the last one week. It is being suspected that an expert gang is involved in the thefts all of which have the same modus operandi.
According to the Indian Express, the latest to be hit is the Muthumariyamman temple at Pappanchavady in Mudaliarpet area. On Tuesday, the temple priest, who had locked the temple Monday evening, told police that he had found the front door of the temple broken, the hundi broken and money stolen that morning.
Police said all the temples targeted had been small ones situated on the outskirts of town. In all cases, the priests had locked the temple in the night and returned the next morning to find the hundis broken and cash stolen. According to the police though all the temples which were burged are small, but all the temples had either recently celebrated some festival and received heavy donations or had not opened the hundis for months. And none of the temples had CCTV cameras installed.
On Monday, the hundi of a temple in Thengaithittu, adjoining Mudaliarpet was also found broken and the money stolen. The Mudaliarpet police are investigating both cases. On June 6, the suspected gang is believed to have struck at three temples in the Murungapakkam area on a single night. Hundis at Anagalamman temple on Villianur main road, Vinayagar temple near Rangasamy Nagar and the Amman temple at Murungapakkam were found broken by the respective temple priests who subsequently lodged complaints with the police.
On the night of June 9, three temples in Ariyankuppam area were targeted. The hundis of the Shengazhuneer Amman temple, Droupathy Amman temple and Parthasarathi temple were found broken and cash stolen. Ariyankuppam police registered a case and fingerprint experts were summoned. A year ago, following a similar series of hundi thefts, the department of Hindu Religious Institutions (HRI) had issued a circular to all temples in Puducherry directing them to open the Hundi once a month and depositing the donations in the temple’s bank account. Similarly after conducting festivals, the hundis were to be opened and the cash deposited in banks, said HRI commissioner B Thillaivelu. However, smaller temples did not comply with these directions, he said. Though instructions for erecting CCTV cameras had been given, most of the smaller temples could not afford to do so, he added.
Senior Superintendent of Police (Law and Order) Apoorva Gupta said the police was looking for the thieves, including among accused in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, and would catch the criminals soon. As the cash stolen was not huge amount, involvement of vagabonds or small-time criminals in the surrounding areas was also suspected, he said. Meanwhile security around temples has been beefed up. A meeting of temple management authorities would be held and they would be advised to install CCTV cameras in the temple premises.