The ancient Ramjanki temple situated in Amkheda village of Uttar Pradesh’s Jalaun district has witnessed the theft of its donation box and priceless Ashtadhatu idols of Lord Ram, Goddess Sita and Laxman.
On Saturday the priest of the temple named Sarvesh Kumar Upadhaya closed the temple at about 8 PM. But when a few women came to pray the next morning, they noticed the idol and donation theft, after which they raised an alarm.
Villagers as a result were incensed and confronted the police. The priest later filed a police complaint regarding this matter. On the basis of this, a police team comprising of the chief police officer Brijnesh Yadav, Sub Inspector Sobran Singh, reached the spot to investigate.
The approximate weight of the idols averaged at about 4-5 Kgs and one report speculated their value to be in crores.
Questions might be raised about the law and order situation as reports have claimed that the village has been prone to thefts in the past as well. In 2015 the thieves had attacked 4-5 houses in the village. The police had failed to apprehend the culprits.
Incidentally a similar theft of idols took place on 8th December in a Jain temple situated in Chhattisgarh’s Dhamtari district. The police in this region though decided to act swiftly and arrested the culprit within 24 hours. They also recovered two idols.
A similar theft combined with vandalism has recently also taken place in Bihar’s Bhojpur district. The thieves stole precious jewels from the Maa Tara temple in district’s Piro region. They also tried to steal the idol and when they weren’t successful, decided to desecrate it.
Theft of ancient artefacts is a very serious issue which plagues the nation, many of which are sold illegally on the international market and volunteers like Anuraag Saxena, associated with the Indian Pride Project are doing their utmost to get back India’s stolen artefacts.
It has been reported that a whopping 50,000 of India’s idols and artefacts have been stolen since 1989. Some of the priceless artefacts which India has lost include Idols, maps, manuscripts, paintings, murals, sculptures. One sandstone sculpture which was once stole from Madhya Pradesh is estimated to carry a market value of Rs 100 crores.