'Panchaloha’ idols emerge from well, send police on clue-hunt

The ides of March has left the Malayinkeezhu police with a mystery, or perhaps three, from deep under the earth, and one that is taking its own sweet time to unravel itself.

An unsuspecting owner who was cleaning an unused well in one corner of his property was in for a surprise when two ‘panchaloha’ idols of Ganapathi and Muruga were found from deep inside the well.

A couple of days later, as the police too joined the ‘cleaning’ process, another idol, this time of Bala Ganapathi, was found. Archaeology experts say the idols are at least 1,000 years old, probably from the 12 century.

Messages were sent to other States, after which a Tamil Nadu police team collected details. A reply is awaited.

With no idea as to how the idols could have reached the well, the police have requested permission to question a person, who used to live nearby about 10 years ago and who is currently lodged in the Central Jail at Thrissur. “He was involved in thefts and sale of idols. We believe he could have some idea on these idols,” says Malayinkeezhu Sub-Inspector Riyaz Raja.

Catch the snatchers

Elections and chain-snatchers might have little in common. But in Thiruvananthapuram, chain-snatchers have managed to leverage the polls to their advantage, exploiting the focus of the police on poll arrangements to attack in a well-planned manner.

The launch of the Booster Patrol had seen a slight lull in snatchings inside the city.

However, once it was known that members of the Booster Patrol and the city police force were being deployed for poll duty, the chain-snatchers struck again, not once but twice on Tuesday.

City Police Commissioner H. Venkatesh, who believes there are four or five gangs who move around on stolen bikes with fake numbers, most of them painted black, says the Booster Patrol is yet to come up with a major catch, but will do so once the polls are over and when they are in full force.

The number of Booster Patrols will be increased, he says. Shadow police are already on the job to track down a few names known to be deft in this category of crime.

At the same time, he says that the motorbike-mounted Booster Patrol team will not be of any good if they are informed late. Public will have to act quick and dial 100 from their mobile phones as fast as possible, thus enabling the patrols to surround the area before the snatchers get away.

Reporting by Dennis Marcus Mathew