Temple thefts continue in Kerala

published on July 6, 2012

In the third incident of temple theft in the past two days in Kerala, burglars stole the idol of Lord Mahavishnu shrine at Echillam near Aralam in Kannur district on Thursday night.

Burglars had stolen the dome of the sanctum sanctorum of a temple in Pathanamthitta and the ornaments of the deity of another shrine in Mavelikkara, Alappuzha early Wednesday morning.

The burglars had taken away the 0.5-metre tall idol (Balibimbam) made of five kilos of Panchaloha alloy after breaking open the sanctum sanctorum of the Echillam temple. The theft was noticed by priest Krishnan Namboothiri when he reached the temple for the morning Poojas at 5.00 am Friday.

The temple was closed on Thursday after the evening Poojas at 7.00 pm, Namboothiri said. According to the police, the burglars could have entered the inner circle of the temple after breaking open the lock of the building surrounding the sanctum sanctorum and stolen the idol after breaking the door using a machete.

A machete had been recovered from the crime scene. Some golden ornaments also had been stolen along with the idol from the Echillam shrine. Temple authorities and local residents said Echillam and neighbouring places did not have a history of thefts at places of worship.

On early Wednesday morning, burglars had stolen the gold-plated dome atop the sanctum sanctorum of the Sree Bhagavati temple at Kalluppara near Thiruvalla in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district after killing a temple employee while several gold ornaments of the main idol of the Sree Krishna Swamy temple at Mavelikkara in Alappuzha district were stolen in another incident.

The burglars had stolen the dome of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple at Kalluppara after stabbing employee Gopalakrishna Kaimal to death and tying Chandrasekharan, the watchman of the temple, to a pillar. According to the temple authorities, the dome of the sanctum sanctorum had been plated with ten sovereigns of gold and it could have contained Iridium.

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