Jumla's stolen idols

Police recover most of stolen idols but culprits still at large

Published On: January 9, 2017 01:30 AM NPT By: DB Buda

JUMLA, Jan 9: Even after a week of recovering most of the stolen idols of Jumla's Chandannath Temple, police are yet to arrest the culprits behind the infamous incident that took place on November 26.

The incident shook the country and prompted extensive investigation by the District Police Office (DPO), Jumla, and the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB). Several suspects were arrested in the duration. But even after over a month of investigation, the police have not been able to identify the culprits behind the incident.

Although it was initially reported that 28 highly valuable idols were stolen from the renowned pilgrim site, seven of the idols were found intact inside the temple, bringing down the number of stolen idols to 21. 

On January 3, some locals reported sighting the idols scattered across Depalgaun-3 of the district. Police then recovered 14 idols from the site. But to this day, an 18 kg idol of the main deity Dattatreya and six others are yet to be found.

Locals of the district showed enthusiastic participation in an event organized on Sunday to press the authorities to make public the recovered idols. They praised the police team for their dedication and success in recovering most of the stolen idols. However, obvious sadness was noticed in their faces after police announced that they are yet to recover seven idols, including the idol of Dattartreya.

The recovered idols were restored in the temple amid a function. The restoration was done as per the local tradition.

In the function, locals also requested the police to recover the remaining idols at the earliest and arrest the culprits. “When will the police recover the remaining idols and arrest those involved in the incident? Until police recover all the idols, no matter how many such programs are organized, it will not bring satisfaction in the heart of the pilgrims,” said Parimal Nepali, a local.

“It is of utmost importance to book the culprits and recover the remaining idols. Until then, conservation of the temple will prove to be a big failure. Although the locals are happy to some extent, we are still not fully satisfied,” he added.

Another local, Gauri Nanda Acharya, who is also a former chairman of Chandannath Guthi Management Committee, expressed confidence that the police would soon recover the remaining idols.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Guru Bishnu Kafle of the DPO said that they are working hard to find the remaining idols. “We are on the right track. I'm sure the remaining idols will be recovered soon.”

The investigation team of police also came under scrutiny after wrongfully shooting an innocent on suspicion of his involvement in the crime. Ram Bahadur Shahi, a local of Deudakala in Bardiya district, was shot by the police on December 10. He was severely injured after being shot in the knee. 

Shahi, who claimed that police shot him without justifiable grounds, has already been proven innocent.

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