Almost six months after the idol of goddess Ugratara was stolen from the centuries-old Ugratara temple in Guwahati, the police in Golpara have been able to recover the stolen idol and arrest the thieves on Tuesday.
As per reports, a goldsmith in Assam’s Golaghat area was approached by a person to “sell a piece of gold”. However, the goldsmith, whose name has been withheld for security reasons, suspected the artifact to be a part of some ancient relic.
The goldsmith reportedly refused to buy the artifact and alerted the police about the suspicious person and the artifact. The Golaghat police then reportedly tracked and arrested the person.
Based on the goldsmith’s lead the police intensified the operation and arrested the gang and closed in on the location of the stolen artifact. Finally, the stolen idol of the goddess was found in a village in Nalbari district. Golaghat police have stated that a delegation from the Ugratara temple and the priest of the temple have confirmed the authenticity of the recovered idol.
A special operation was conducted by Golaghat Police on 30.04.2019 in Nalbari District under Belsore PS and apprehended 4 no. of wanted accused in conn. with #MaaUgrataraMandir idol theft case and recovered the idol from their possession.@assampolice#KanoonKeHaathLambeHoteHain pic.twitter.com/21Pl4W3qxu
— Golaghat Police (@GolaghatPolice) May 1, 2019
The recovery of the stolen idol has been a major success of the police and the cause of joy among the devotees in Assam as the Ugratara temple is one of the most revered shrines in the state and one of the major ‘Shaktipeethas’ of India.
As per reports, four persons have been arrested in connection with the theft, namely, Saan Hussain, Adil Ali, Rahul Ali and Mintu Roy. The SP of Golaghat district, Pushparaj Singh has reportedly stated that the idol of the Goddess was recovered from Adil Ali’s house. He also informed that the idol will be first taken to Guwahati and will be handed over formally to the temple authorities by Guwahati police.
The temple authorities present at the press briefing by police stated that the idol has some parts missing. However, the idol is to be reinstated at the temple soon as per rituals and traditions.
The idol was stolen from the Ugratara temple on the night of 15 November. The thieves had also looted the donation box, the jewelry of the goddess, other valuables and desecrated the temple by defecating in it.
The shrine of goddess Ugratara dates back to 1044 AD. The current temple was built by Ahom king Shiva Singha in 1725. It is one of the oldest Shaktipeeths in the country. The idol of the goddess was made of Ashtadhatu (eight metals) and was extremely valuable.
When the crime was first reported, the police had arrested Honey Singh, Babu, Rohi Basfor and Raju Basfor, based on CCTV footage. 3 more men Tinku Ali, Hamirun Nesa and Farhan Ali. Tinku Ali had confessed of buying the idol for Rs 7000 but he had stated that the idol had gone missing and he could not tell where it was.
Later, devotees of the temple and the management had stated that they would reinstate the goddess and had decided to commission a new Ashtadhatu idol. The temple management has now reportedly informed that the old idol will be restored in its original place after repair and the new idol will also be installed in the temple. The idols are to be installed during the Ugratara Mahotsav. The DGP of Assam Kula Saikia has stated that the recovery of the stolen idol is very good news for the people of Assam.