364 Temple thefts in 2007; On an average One Temple Theft a Day in Kerala

published on June 4, 2008

Temple thefts: Preying on God’s abode
Author:Arjun Raghunath

T’PURAM: They call it God’s Own Country. Only, the gods in Kerala aren’t safe anymore.

Giving the temple authorities and the powers that be sleepless nights are the innumerable temple thefts — some proving to be tough nuts to crack.

Last year, on an average, there had been at least one temple theft each day in the state. The value of the booty would run into several lakhs! According to the data available with the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB), 364 temple thefts were reported in 2007 (it was 291 the previous year). Only 88 cases in 2007 and 111 cases in 2006 have been detected so far. The rate of detection is as low as 24 percent and 38 percent respectively during the two years.

Among the districts, the state capital leads the tally with 65 cases in 2006 and 47 the following year. While 31 cases were detected in the district in 2006, only 19 cases reported in 2007 could be detected till date.

Kozhikode comes second in the list with 42 thefts (2007) followed by Kollam (35) and Ernakulam (31). In 2006, 38 cases were reported in Kollam, 35 in Malappuram and 31 in Ernakulam.

The absence of proper security measures in temples is cited as the major reason for thefts. “Most of the temples neither have security personnel nor security features like lockers or burglar alarms. The hundis of most of the temples are installed in such a way that it is easier to take money out of them rather than put something in them,” said a senior police officer.

“The police have stepped up vigil near temples in view of a number of thefts. The local sub-inspectors were directed to regularly monitor the security of major temples,” he said.

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