“ FIR in idol theft case mandatory”

Failure to register will attract minimum imprisonment of six months: advisory

April 03, 2014 12:24 am | Updated May 21, 2016 07:48 am IST - CHENNAI:

A Pallava period Vishnu idol, which was stolen fromSiruthavur village.

A Pallava period Vishnu idol, which was stolen fromSiruthavur village.

The Idol Wing Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Tamil Nadu police has issued an advisory to ensure that officer in charge of police stations register First Information Reports (FIR) in idol theft cases.

The advisory follows increasing instances of negligence. The latest incident involves the theft of a Pallava period idol from Siruthavur in Chengalpattu Taluk.

A five-and-half-foot tall Vishnu stone idol belonging to Pallava period and datable to 9th century CE was stolen in 2008 from a Vishnu temple in Siruthavur. The villagers frequently worshipped the idol kept in the open near the temple tank. When it went missing, D. Jeyachandran, who was then the vice-president of the Sirvathuvur Panchayat, filed a complaint with the Thriuporur police station. Neither an FIR was registered nor investigation conducted. In the last six years, there had been no follow up. Last year, when another idol was stolen from the same village, the villagers took up the issue with the idol wing and also filed a fresh complaint with the local police station.

This is second such instance of negligence in the last few months.

Earlier, a 9th century Jain Tirthankara idol in Virinjipuram village in Vellore district went missing.

When the local Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments official brought it to the notice of the Virinjipuarm police station, the police enquired into it and filed a report stating that such an idol never existed. There was no question of it being stolen, was the conclusion.

This report was proved wrong. The Government Museum in Egmore, Chennai, had documented the idol in the past and published the details in one of its bulletins.

The Principal Secretary, Culture and Religious Endowments Departments, represented the case to the Idol Wing and requested to initiate appropriate action.

Subsequent investigation confirmed that the Jain idol was indeed stolen.

To prevent such negligence in future, the idol wing had sent an advisory to reiterate that registering of FIR in idol theft case was mandatory.

The advisory also stated that officer in charge of police stations could not insist on preliminary enquiry before registration since it was impermissible under law.

Those who failed to register idol theft cases would attract a minimum imprisonment of six months it stated.

Failure to register would greatly impede the recovery of stolen idols in future, said police.

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