Criminal gangs hunting for treasures in temples: Sawang

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The Andhra Pradesh police which has miserably failed to crack the two temple related crimes – Antarvedi chariot burning in Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy in East Godavari and the missing of three silver lion statues from Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada – claimed that these crimes from different temples across the state were isolated ones and not linked in any way.

Recently, ‘Nandi’ idol was sacrilege in a Chittoor temple. DGP Gautam Sawang said police had sent a notice to the temple management and was investigating the case. Sawang said several gangs were hunting for treasures supposedly hidden under idols.

“Criminal elements, people with superstitious beliefs, and others were found involved in crimes,” he said. Presenting statistics on temple attacks in Andhra, Sawang said 228 cases were identified in 2020, which were lower than the previous years.

Sawang reeled out statistics which showed that attacks on temples were more during the previous TDP regime compared to one year of YSRCP rule. “In 2019, when the state witnessed a change in ruling party from TDP to YSRCP, the state witnessed 305 cases involving temples. During the TDP regime, the state saw 290 cases in 2015, 322 in 2016, 318 in 2017, and 267 in 2018, indicating that the temples were reporting damage in some form or the other through attacks or elements of nature or bounty hunters,” the DGP stated. He claimed that 12 of the 19 temple attack cases since the Antarvedi Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple chariot blaze had been cracked.

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