KENDRAPARA: Police on Friday recovered six Astadhatu idols, that were stolen form the famous 350-year-old Radhakanta Jew temple in Giria village under Rajkanika police limits of Kendrapara district, from a cashew plantation in Kantapada village.
Some miscreants had decamped with the idols of Radha, Krishna, Laxmi and Anthua Gopal on the night of August 8. “The idols were found by some villagers from the cashew plantation at Kantapada village, 6 km from the temple”, said SDPO of Pattamundai Umashankar Moharana. The miscreants must have abandoned the idols fearing police action, he added.
As the news of the recovery of the idols spread, hundreds of villagers thronged the spot and started offering prayers. “We will soon hand over the idols to the priests of the temple”, added the police officer.
It may be recalled that six months back, police had arrested three persons for their alleged involvement in the theft of valuables from the famous Maa Gojabaiani temple at Baghadia village under Marshaghai police limits.
Last year, Nischintkoili police had busted an inter-State gang of idol lifters with the arrest of two of its members and recovered a rare stone Buddha idol stolen from the Buddha temple at Buhalo village. Similarly, a priceless stone statue of meditating Buddha was stolen three years back from the excavation site at the famous Buddhist monastery in Udayagiri of Jajpur district.
Temples and Buddhist sites are fertile ground for antiques. Some local antique dealers buy these from local gangs for pittance. When the idols reach metropolitan cities, the prices go up significantly. When the statues reach the international market, they become priceless, said Basudev Das, a renowned historian of Kendrapara.