Tamil Nadu temple theft - Antique idols worth Rs.40 crores recovered by ''Idol Wing of TN'' last year!!

stolen antique idol of Vishnu, Mahabalipuram socialnews.xyz

Antique .idol of Parvati recovered from Mahabalipuram. thehindu.com

Stolen idols of deities from Mahabalipuram, TN .indiatoday.in

Idol thief. indiatimes.com

Above image: In the state of Chhattisgarh the incidents of idol thefts and artefacts  are raising and they are stolen from the historical ASI sites by organized gangs of idol thieves with international link, according to media reports. ............ .

idol theft from a Hindu temple, N. India.vtvgujarati.com

For reasons of negligence  on the part of government officials in charge of temples, poor custody and  high economic value of the antique idols that are spread across Tamil Nadu, the incidents of idol thefts are seeing  upward mobility in the last several  years. The thefts happen despite the fact the Idol wing of TN is handling the case effectively as much s they could. In the past several years they successfully retrieved countless valuable and sacred idols from foreign countries  to which they were smuggled out of Inia by a few gangs of thieves operating in paces  where there are many poorly  guarded Hindu temples are located, in particular, in isolated areas in small towns and villages. As for the government agency HR & CE  that manages more than 34000 temple of all sizes, it is  a Herculean task for the honest officials to check the temple thefts. There are many black sheep in the agency and the culprits in the local areas do the job of lifting unguarded  antique idols in collusion with them.

 However, HR&CE has to be vigilant about such thefts because every idol stolen from our temples means it a big blow to our long cherished culture and ethos. In the loss of idols, at stake is the  honor, dignity of divine places  which we seek for peace of mind.  Common  gripe about HR & CE and their administration among the public is unwanted  construction of AC rooms on the temple premises for senor officials and the allotment of expensive cars for them. Additional expenses in this respect are borne by the agency at public cost!! Instead of  wasting money on such luxury, the power that be may focus on the dilapidated temples and the security of antique idols in them that have become target for anti-social groups and atheists.  

stolen idol of Ravanna & Sita, Mahabalipuram. .dtnext.in/

Last year in December (2021) the sleuths from  the Tamil Nadu Police idol wing  successfully  recovered multiple antique idols worth Rs. 40 crore. On December 24, 2021, upon tip-off  from some sources, the police raided an unassuming  artefact shop  in the famous tourist and beach  resort town of  Mahabalipuram near Chennai. The police, after careful tailing and gathering enough information raided the Indian Cottage Emporium. The net worth of  antique idols caught in the dragnet was worth roughly Rs 40 crores - roughly $5 to $6  million.

Sketch map of a Hindu temple. pinrest.com

The raid took place based on a tip-off by a whistle blower or a secret agent  that   the ''iyyempon idol of Parvati in standing posture''  was on the way to a place to be sold on the  the international market.

Credit goes to ADSP Ashok Natarajan and his team who took action in a jiff.  Also recovered by them from the shop were  idols of Krishna  playing the flute, Natarajar, Narthana Vinayagar, Natarajar, Arthanareeswarar, Ravana with ten heads, two female deities and two Shivas  along with sensitive documents. a total of 11 idols, of which 8 were found to be of antique value. The expert suspects the origin of Ravana idol with 10 heads is Sri Lanka. The heaviest idol was that of Parvati - roughly 22 kg. thw age of the idols may be 11th century.

One  Javed Shah, a native of Srinagar, Kashmir, owner of the  the Emporium was arrested by the Idol Wing Police on Tuesday, January 11, upon  recovering the ‘Standing Parvathi’ idol from him. He did not possess any relevant certificates or purchase  receipts. Further investigation revealed, according to the media report, that he had been in smuggling business of idols in the last 30 years and in this connection his brother was at large. 

An idol expert from the ASI -  Archaeological Survey of India   estimated the value of the stolen idols; additional  investigations  were on as to the origin of the temple where the idols had been stolen and their antiquity.