Interpol on alert after idol theft in Himachal

Shimla (IANS): Interpol has been put on high alert after the theft of an antique idol of Lord Raghunath from Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu town, police said Wednesday.

A reward of Rs.10 lakh has been announced for providing clues about the robbers.
“The Interpol and (Indian) immigration authorities have been alerted to prevent the robbers from fleeing the country,” a senior police official told IANS.
Director General Police Sanjay Kumar told reporters that police were looking into various aspects of the theft. “We are also investigating the modus operandi of the last theft in the temple,” he said.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh told the state assembly in Dharamsala that a reward of Rs.10 lakh has been announced.
The main idol of Lord Raghunath was found missing from the Lord Raghunath temple in Sultanpur in Kullu, about 200 km from here, early Tuesday.
The robbers entered the temple from the roof and took away the idols of Lord Raghunath and Hanuman, both made of ‘ashtadhatu’ (a composite of eight metals), a stone statue of Narsingh Shila (covered with gold), one silver Ganesh idol and a pair of Charan Paduka besides ornaments.
Raja Jagat Singh, the erstwhile ruler of Kullu, obtained the Lord Raghunath idol from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh and built the temple in the 17th century.
Police called it one of the biggest heists in a religious place in the state.
The Kullu Dussehra, a centuries old festival, is associated with Lord Raghunath, the chief deity.
Police officials said in the past 15 years, at least 100 thefts had been reported from temples in Himachal Pradesh. Over 20 of them were major ones.
The hill state has over 2,000 temples and monasteries that are centuries old. Of these, 60 are under the care of the Archaeological Survey of India while 31 are with the state language, art and culture department.