Temple Idol theft near Kumbakonam, TN: Local police for 48 years never registered the case!! Why?

Temple idol thieves english.makalukhabar.com

Theft of temple jewelry. siasat.com

For archaeologist like Erin Thompson whose main area of research is art crime- theft of artifacts, idols, paintings, etc.a preponderance of  antiquities  pose tough  challenge for provenance researchers for many reasons and many of them are intractable if they are from third world country  with poor historical records. no clear information is available on the place of excavation and the record of ownership.  Lack of information on the stolen artifacts put the museums that own them at an advantageous position.  In the case of fakes, with the loss of information on the objects of they lose out on the heritage value. To continue to put them on display details ma be created.  

Many private collectors of Antique artwork  want the sacred Indian art well preserved and well displayed in museums globally as they serve as “the silent ambassadors of the country.”   Repatriation, according to him would doom these works of arts of past era to the lowest level. He is of the opinion that that Indians are not good keeping them well with care considering their heritage value and ethos.   In the museums like Chennai, Kolkata scores of artworks, sculptures, etc  are full of dust with poor maintenance.  About the  the repatriated objects from overseas private collectors asked: “Where will they put them?

Something has to be done to get rid of our official apathy and lethargic  attitude. Dereliction of duty and lack of commitment to duty  in the government offices may be due to lack of deterence in the form of punishment or loss of job. 

 The case of idol thefts is a serious one. We all know we have to stop it at any cost as they are headed to international market for a hefty sum. A serious case in point is about the stolen idol of goddess parvati from a Shiva temple near Kumbakonam.  Can you ever imagine that the theft took place way back in 1971, but the police complaint was made only in 2019 roughly after 48 years? 

It was the Idol Wing Police who registered the temple idol theft case to take it to a higher level and to retrieve it soon. In 1971, five idols worth Rs. 60 crore then were stolen from the same temple, though a formal complaint was made to the Nachiyar Koil Police station, no case was registered for decades. Later, the idols (then worth Rs. 60 crores) were shifted to  the safety locker at nearby Uppiliappan temple. In 1972 a nataraja Iyyempon idol was stolen, shifted to England and from there it reached the USA. No complaint was registered by the local police. There were complaints about the bonafides of the idols being kept in the temple locker at Uppiliappan temple. The suspicion had been that  idols in the locker were  replaced with fake ones and later investigations was on to verify them. According to the Madras High court, these idols, apart from religious sentiments, are priceless," and have to be preserved for the posterity. 

About Hindu temples being managed by the state governments, irritated over rampant idol theft in Tamil Nadu  Supreme Court in My 2020 itself asked ‘why government officials should manage temples’.The  bench was highly critical of the  temple administration under HR & CE