Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, January 25
Though the stolen idols of Lord Raghunath, the presiding deity of the Kullu valley, and other idols and valuables have been recovered, the security of the temples remains a matter of concern.
The concern of the people is not misplaced as a theft took place in a temple in January 2014 and the second theft rocked the temple town in December and they want to be assured that security will be beefed up.
“The government had announced a reward of Rs 10-lakh and the VHP had also announced Rs 2-lakh award for providing clue about the thieves but now this amount will not be paid to any person and the government and temple managers should create a corpus of this money and provide some more amount to beef up security” said Jitender Prashar, a retired government employee in Kullu.
A team of four policemen is guarding the temple and the police patrolling has been intensified, said DGP Sanjay Kumar.
Himachal Lokhit party (HLP) president Maheshwar Singh, MLA, who is also Kardar (Caretaker) of Raghunath, has also expressed concern over the security of the temple and idols and said the security was stepped up after the theft in January and more CCTVs were installed which did help in tracking the thief.
“We are concerned about the security of the temple and more cameras will be installed and the decision on deployment of the police, security guards or volunteers to guard the temple will be taken in the coming days”, he added.
The government had earlier maintained that the temple was a private property and the managers of the temple should arrange for safety and security of the temple but still keeping in mind its religious sanctity, the possibility of the police taking over the security of the temple could not be ruled out, sources said.
Accused to remain in Nepal
A special investigating team (SIT) of the Himachal Police, constituted for investigating the Raghunathji temple theft, today returned from Nepal. Sources in the police said the main accused Nar Prashad was a fugitive of the Nepal army and would stay in the custody of the Nepal police for the next 25 days. They said the accused had also done an extensive survey of the Markendey temple in Bajaura also.
SIT efforts appreciated
ADGP (Law & Order) Sanjay Kundu today lauded the efforts of the special investigation team.
He said the CCTV footage pointed finger towards a suspect and his photographs were shown to people and a Nepali, running a dhaba at Kullu, identified the suspect as Basant Sharma (fake name of the accused).
During investigation of the call detail record, mobile numbers were figured out and it was found that Basant Sharma was collecting information about the historical temples of Kullu and idols.
Kundu said the police also got the whereabouts of his stay and tracked the location of the accused who was arrested in Nepal on January 22.
The team under the supervision of SP Kullu Surender Verma was headed by ASP Nihal Chand and included Inspector Anil Kumar, Lokender Negi and Raj Kumar, Sub-Inspector Jitender and Ankur, Head Constable Rajeev Kumar, Sanjeev Walia, Rajesh and Suresh Kumar.
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