South India Religious News Updates (4th Week of February, 2019)

 In Christianity, Hinduism, Islam

South India Religious News Updates (4th Week of February 2019)

Tamil Nadu : Four decades after the theft, police register the case!!

Four decades after an ancient Nataraja idol was stolen from a temple in Tamil Nadu, the state idol wing police have registered a case recently.

A Nataraja idol worth Rs. 50 crore was stolen in 1972 from a Shiva temple in Thandanthottam village, police said. Earlier in 1971, five idols worth Rs. 60 crore then was stolen from the same temple, they said. After the second incident of theft, the other idols in the temple were shifted to the safety locker at the Uppiliappan temple.

Though a complaint was lodged, no case was registered for the past 47 years, and the local police did not give a proper explanation as to why a case was not registered. It is suspected that the stolen Nataraja idol was in England, from where it had been smuggled to America.  There were also many complaints that the idols in the locker have been replaced with fake ones and investigations were on to verify them.

Andhra Pradesh : Stolen ‘Nandi’ found and seven arrested

The idol of a Nandi was found stolen from the famous Bala Tripura Sundari Sametha Agastheswara Swamy temple in Ramachandrapuram mandal of East Godavari district in the wee hours of Thursday. Police suspect the involvement of persons associated with the temple or some miscreants from the village as the monolithic idol, carved out of granite stone, weighs nearly one tonne. The temple is believed to be over 400 years old.

Seven people were arrested on Saturday in connection with the recent one-tonne ”Nandi” idol theft from an ancient Shiva shrine in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, the police said.

The accused had stolen the idol from the famous Bala Tripura Sundari Sametha Agastheswara Swamy Ramachandrapuram Mandal temple on January 23, believing rumours that diamonds were embedded in it. The police later recovered the idol in a broken state, around 50 kilometres away from the temple site. Lakshmikantam, Sub Inspector Ramachandrapuram told ANI, “The accused told us that they had heard from some sadhu (priest) about the presence of diamonds in the idol, which is why they stole it. However, they did not find the diamonds.”

The police have registered an FIR against the accused and filed a case. They further said it has launched an investigation and are on the lookout for five more people who are allegedly involved in the case.

Karnataka : Church stops collecting donations for Beggars

St Lawrence Minor Basilica at Attur in Karkala taluk of Udupi district will stop collecting donation for beggars during its five-day annual feast starting on Saturday. This comes after the jurisdictional Karkala rural police issued a letter to the church asking not to continue the practice as beggary is prohibited under law. The police have put up boards all over stating that begging is not allowed.

Every year, the church used to keep two huge donation boxes in the church and the collection was distributed among the beggars who congregate here.

Church director Fr George D’Souza said the practice of keeping donation boxes for the sake of beggars began in 1994 and it was done to prevent beggars seeking alms from devotees. As a result, the number of beggars increased to 4,000 from just about 150 in 1994. The priest said that some had converted it into a profession and also a racket.

Andhra Pradesh : Three Crown Jewels of Govindaraja Swamy, Tirupathi Stolen

Devotees and priests were stunned to see the Nandi idol missing and a huge hole in the place where it stood. What baffled the locals was that the theft of the idol from the temple, located in a residential area, was carried out without any noise. Police suspect that the thieves might have come to the temple on several occasions to conduct a recce. Ramachandrapuram inspector Siva Ganesh expressed the hope to track down the thieves with the help of CCTV footage. A case was registered.

Three golden crowns went missing at Sri Govindarajaswamy temple at Tirupati on Saturday. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and the police were shocked at the manner in which the crowns – weighing a combined 1300 grams of gold, with precious stones studded all over – went missing from the temple located at the heart of the city.

The temple always witnesses heavy crowds. With TTD’s security sleuths standing at vantage spots and CCTV cameras installed at crucial points, it is almost impossible to clandestinely ferry valuables outside the temple complex.

The alleged theft is said to have happened when the priests were engaged in their routine work after the ‘Suprabhatham’ ritual on Saturday. A woman constable in the TTD’s vigilance service noticed the missing crowns and alerted the priests, who in turn informed the higher officials.

TTD’s Joint Executive Officer Pola Bhaskar, Chief Vigilance and Security Officer Gopinath Jatti and Superintendent of Police (Tirupati Urban) K.K.N. Anburajan visited the temple and probed the temple staff as well as the priests to gather clues.

“Headed by two Deputy Superintendents of Police, we have formed six teams to probe the case from six different angles,” Mr. Anburajan told The Hindu. To a query, if it could be the handiwork of someone on temple duty, he said the probe would also encompass the ‘insider’ angle.

Telangana : A Man from UP tries to create communal tension

A man hailing from Uttar Pradesh, tied lemons to the wall of the Masjid and also left a palm print (in red colour), as per reports published in Deccan Chronicle.

The actions of a man identified as Amit Kumar, who is about 25-30 years old could have led to communal tension. Masjid–e-Nazaria at Patigadda located on the left of the Spanish Mosque, also known as Masjid Iqbal Ud Daula at Begumpet in Hyderabad. The man, currently in custody of Begumpet Police was arrested after a team located him near a temple at Rasoolpura where he was digging a pit near it.

“With the things we found in the bag he was carrying, we could pin him with the offence and pulled him in for questioning. He was only responding to direct questions and was not able to comprehend properly otherwise,” added the policeman, He is intended to go to Surat but ended up in Secunderabad via train, police said, reported Indian Express.

“We will be running his prints in the national database on Wednesday. The case is still under investigation as we are not able to detect the motives behind the actions,” concluded the officials. Based on the complaint from the administrator of the Masjid–e-Nazaria, cases under Section 153-A and 505-C of the IPC were booked against him.

Gundela St Mary's festival

Andhra Pradesh : Three –day Gunadala Mary Festival held

As part of the three-day Gunadala Mother Mary festival celebrations, Catholic Church Bishop, Guntur Rev Bhagyaiah participated in the holy mass prayers and addressed the devotees who attended for the holy mass on the second day here on Sunday. The Gunadala Mother Mary shrine was full of devotees.

The Guntur Bishop Bhagyaiah on the occasion said that Mother Mary showed love and affection among the people and the Mother Mary on the holy hill Gunadala will also shower her blessings to all the devotees like her children.

Speaking on the occasion, Vijayawada Catholic Diesis Bishop Rev T Joseph Raja Rao said that they arranged all the facilities to the devotees who visit Gunadala in large numbers.

He said that in the evening session, the Holy Mass prayer would be delivered by the Eluru Catholic Church Bishop Rev Polimera Jaya Rao along with Vijayawada Bishop Raja Rao.

Rector Ealeti Williams, Monsignor Muvvala Prasad and others performed Holy Mass prayers in the presence of lakhs of a gathering of the devotees, who visited the Gunadala Mother Mary Shrine.

Devotional and cultural programmes, especially songs and dances by students enthralled visitors.   A thoughtful message was given to the gathering in the one character play Lousier which was played in the late night of Saturday. The Yesu Kripa and Wealthy and Lazar dramas inspired the devotees.

Telangana : Silver Jubilee Celebrations for St Jospeh’s Church were held

Silver jubilee celebrations of St Joseph’s Church, Bolarum were held on a grand note here on Sunday.

On completion of 25 years as an independent parish, a con-celebrated high mass was held by Rev. Thumma Bala, Archbishop of Hyderabad and 15 other priests from different parishes.

St Joseph’s statue, the patron saint of the church, was unveiled followed by a high mass. A souvenir entailing the church history, immeasurable contributions of various parish priests of the church, along with milestone events was released by Father Thumma Bala. The church was decorated and had overwhelming participation of devotees of the church and those from other parishes too.

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