Tamil Nadu

Idol wing on trail of missing icons

Additional Director General of Police Prateep V. Philip and Inspector-General of Police (Idol Wing) Pon Manickavel  

The Idol Wing police have intensified their investigation to trace the missing icons from the safe centre at the Sri Pasupatheeswarar temple at Pandanallur near here, with search operations on Monday and Tuesday.

The probe is aimed at retrieving the original records pertaining to the year 1955 that could possibly spill the beans on the treasures that were spirited away, according to highly placed sources. The search is also expected to throw light on the exact number of icons and articles stolen or replaced.

Led by the Inspector General of Police, Idol Wing, A.G. Pon Manickavel, teams scanned the safe centre for the original records. During investigations, the teams detected that records had been forged, manipulated, decimated and deleted to suit pilferage, the sources revealed. Even records pertaining to temple land holdings have been fudged, it is said. “We are looking for a 1955 register that could hold the key to the exact number of icons stolen. Vested interests are dodging the moves to retrieve the register. We have already found that large-scale systematic manipulation of records has taken place after 2013, though we believe that there could have been pilferage of idols even before that,’’ sources said.

Deities dismantled

Police also interrogated priests and hereditary trustees of village temples whose icons had been kept at the Pandanallur safe centre and reported lost or missing. The accused in the case pertaining to the missing idols maintain that as per records there were 434 icons including 107 idols in the safe centre in Kumbakonam. But we suspect there must have been many more, sources added.

To prevent identification and recovery of the stolen idols, the miscreants had dismantled the Thiruvachi, deities and pedestal in many cases and have recorded them severally. In one case, a sacred spear (Vel) has been planted on a pedestal and recorded as Astra Devar, sources said, explaining the extent of manipulation.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 5:39:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/idol-wing-on-trail-of-missing-icons/article22746371.ece

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