Temple hundis are no longer safe

eNarada, Bengaluru, January 23, 2016

Thefts and burglaries from various temples have become growing concern these days. The latest addition seems to be the famous Bayalu Basavanna temple, Kommasandra (near Sarjapur) where miscreants broke open the temple hundi and ran away with cash on Sunday night.

The culprits broke open the lock to enter the temple and stole the money from hundi. The burglary was noticed in the morning by priest when he came to perform the routine puja. The hundi had not been opened for the last few months and therefore, the collection in it was estimated to be in thousands of rupees.

The latest hundi theft has left the temple administration in distraught as this temple has been targetted more than 10 times in the past. Now, the temple authorities are brainstorming as to how they can safeguard the temple.

Miscreants broke open the Hundi at Bayalu Basava Temple near Sarjapur on Sunday night. eNarada Picture

According to the temple’s trustee Mr Reddy, one of the immediate measures could be installation of CCTvs. They are also planning to introduce night shifts where in a team could patrol the premises whole night. They are also planning to introduce e-wallets so that the money collection gets deposited in the bank account directly and minimise the risk of thefts.

In a bid to curb the temple thefts, Attibele police inspector L.Y. Rajesh suggested that the temples should ensure that they don’t leave the hundi money for long time. “The hundi money should be deposited in their bank accounts periodically and in case of any fairs or festivals, the money should be collected from the hundis at the earliest. It is also a good idea to install the CCTvs and the e-wallets too can be a good option. However, the temple authorities should intimate the cops immediately and in case of Sunday’s theft, no one has come forward to file police complaint yet.”

Reacting to this, the temple authorities said that they are tired of complaining to the police on increasing security. They had filed complaints during the previous thefts but till date, neither the thieves were caught nor was stolen money recovered.

Theft of idols and valuables in various temples across Karnataka has turned out to be a major concern for the state government. Thieves at several temples have outsmarted the best of security measures adopted by the Muzrai department.

Sources in the police department said that the temple thefts were going high-tech. Previously, this crime was limited to hundis and metal idols but now white collar criminals have started operating in various temples and removing sculptures for the purpose of smuggling. Unless proper watch is arranged in temples through investigation of these cases, the entire stock of sculptures may come to an end. It is suggested that list of temples and places of archaeological interest should be maintained in each police station. Police should make efforts to visit these places regularly and sources will be engaged for collection of criminal intelligence regarding thefts/ attempted thefts at places. The gram rakshaks should be instructed to give timely information about such incidents of their area and keep a look out for such criminals or their receivers into their villages.

Meanwhile, in Karnataka, the Muzrai department is installing CCTVs inside the sanctum sanctorum of select temples across state by linking them with the police control room for increased safety. This will ensure that police at the control units can constantly monitor between the images and keep a tab on security arrangements, especially during the night. The moment a burglar attempts to enter any temple, the installed cameras could flash the images and alert the staff for deployment of personnel for action.

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