Hundi whodunit: Who’s stealing god’s money?
By Mouli Mareedu | Published: 29th November 2012 09:15 AM |
Karthika Masam is a busy month for temples in the city. Devotees flock to the sancta, make a perambulation, utter a silent wish and leave a contribution in the hundi.
Early Wednesday morning, braving the pre-dawn chill, someone scaled the wall of the Sri Kasi Visveswara Swamy temple at Subhashnagar in Jeedimetla, stole into the shrine, broke open the hundi and walked away with its contents: all of Rs 500, in loose change.
It was the fifth such theft in temples in recent days, continuing a spate that began in the Old City of Hyderabad and spread to localities in Cyberabad.
Police are scratching their heads, partly in amazement, that thieves would take the trouble to commit a crime against the gods for something like loose change. After each theft, they do the usual detective work. But all they have is conjecture: the thieves may be devotees who espied the coins in the hundi during the daytime rush, and that they carry out their heists during the small hours from 3 am to 5.30 am, after the last night owl has gone to bed and shortly before the priest comes to do the first puja of the day.
In the latest case, priest K Vijaya Shankara Sastry went to the temple in the morning and noticed the hundi broken open. He suspects it was the deed of thieves in the guise of daytime devotees who recced the temple and imagined that the impressive gifts given to the gods would be there for the taking in the hundi. In the thefts that have taken place at temples in Dundigal, Petbasheerabad and Jeedimetla, the hundi was the cynosure of the thieves’ eyes.
The spate of temple thefts began on Oct. 5 and some of the heists have been of a serious magnitude involving temple jewels and idols. But some have seemed to be the handiwork of less ambitious creatures of the night. But while police have shown some arrests, the thefts have not ceased.