Burglary in 300-year-old Baldevjew temple

Kendrapara: Burglars broke open a donation box at the 300-year-old Baldevjew temple and decamped with cash, gold, silver ornaments and other valuables donated by devotees, the temple authorities said today.

"Some servitors spotted the theft yesterday. They brought it to the notice of the temple management. The wooden box in which the devotees used to place the donations through an opening was unlocked and broken open," said Akshaya Kumar Pani, a trustee member of the temple.

The temple executive officer lodged an FIR but no arrest was made. "Preliminary investigation points towards involvement of persons who have unrestricted access to the temple. A night watchman who did the duty when the burglary took place has been taken into custody and is being questioned. We are hopeful that the culprits would be nabbed soon," police said.

"Police patrolling is clamped near the temple compound while the inner complex is guarded by staff deployed by temple management. Thus it`s lapses on part of temple staff on night duty that resulted in the burglary," police said.

The incident has brought to the fore the poor security arrangement of the temple. Only two contractual staff with a month honorarium of Rs 1500 each are on temple security duty, sources in the temple management said. Various strategic structures inside the temple, a protected heritage site of state archaeology department, were facing corrosion besides wear and tear, the sources said.