As many as eight antique ‘Ashtadhatu’ idols were found stolen from Laxmi Narayan temple at Tankapani under Balianta police limits on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar on Monday.
According to the priest of the temple, of the eight stolen idols, five were of large sizes while the rest were comparatively smaller ones.
“I reached the temple at about 4 am today only to find the door of the temple ajar with the broken lock lying on the ground. Upon verification, I found five bigger size idols of Goddess Durga, Laxmi, Narayan, Chandrasekhar and Parvati and three smaller ones including Radha, Krishna and Anthua Gopal missing from the altar,” said priest of the temple Kuna Mohapatra.
According to some local residents, since the antique idols are in demand in other states and fetch a big amount, temples continue to be a hot target of the plunderers.
"Incidents of pillaging of temples have been reported at regular intervals and the involvement of local residents can’t be ruled out. But such incidents have only exposed the casual and flawed approach of the police. The administration is doing nothing to curb such cases,” rued a local resident, Ramesh Barik.
Meanwhile, a team from Balianta police station visited the temple for an inspection. A probe has also been launched into the case.
It is worth mentioning that 15 ‘Ashtadhatu’ idols from Gopinathdeb temple at Bhingarpur and two similar idols from Balunkeshwar temple under Balianta police limits were stolen in last six months.