As many as 19 cases pertaining to attacks on places of worships were reported in the State, after the burning of chariot at Antarvedi temple on September 6, and all these incidents occurred with different motives and were unrelated, Director General of Police (DGP) D. Gautam Sawang has said.
Speaking on the series of attacks and thefts reported from the places of worships in the State in the last 20 days, Mr. Sawang on Monday clarified that the incidents were not orchestrated and committed with superstitions, treasure hunt and other motives.
‘Cases are not linked’
“The police have arrested the accused in 12 of the total 19 cases reported in the State, while the remaining cases are in different stages of investigation. All the accused will be brought to book. All these cases are stand-alone incidents and it is not correct to link one to the other,” said Mr. Swanag.
Citing the case reported from Srikakulam, the DGP said some people alleged that the arm of an idol was desecrated. Investigation revealed that the arm was broken and fell off last year as the idol was exposed to sun and rain.
Various other attacks were committed by the gangs who were hunting for treasures supposedly hidden under idols, Mr. Sawang said.
Giving the data on number of thefts reported in the State in the last six years, the DGP said 290 thefts occurred at temples in 2015, which went up to 322 in 2016 and 318 in 2017.
As many as 267 cases were reported in 2018 and 305 last year.
About 228 cases have been registered this year till date.
Giving details about the measures to ensure the safety of places of worship, the DGP said as many as 47,359 places of worships, including 28,567 temples, have been mapped and CCTV cameras have been installed in 880 locations.
Police have bound over 8,204 offenders allegedly involved in thefts at places of worships and attacks in the last six years.
Notices have been served on the managements of the shrines to step up security on their respective premises, he said.
Stating that 10 % of the places of worship are equipped with CCTV surveillance, Mr. Sawang said that a comprehensive social audit has been done across the State in the last three weeks.
“I appeal to the people not to get carried away by rumours and cooperate with the police in maintaining the law and order,” the DGP added.