Mumbai Airport's security on alert after priceless idol's theft

Updated: Jan 08, 2015, 13:25 IST | Neha LM Tripathi |

The government of Himachal Pradesh has asked the CISF to declare high alert after a 17th century idol was recently stolen from Kullu's Raghunath temple

While airports tightening security due to terror and bomb threats is not unusual, a 7.6X2.6 cm idol, recently stolen from Raghunath temple in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh has put Mumbai airport on high alert.

The 17th century ashtadhatu (eight-metal amalgam) idol of Lord Raghunath (Lord Ram) was taken by unidentified persons on December 8.

The idol, 7.8x2.6 cm in size, was stolen by a gang from Raghunath temple in Kullu
The idol, 7.8x2.6 cm in size, was stolen by a gang from Raghunath temple in Kullu

While considered priceless, the idol is reportedly worth more than Rs 20 crore.

An FIR was lodged under Sections 457 (trespass and break-in) and 380 (theft) of Indian Penal Code, following which the government of Himachal Pradesh wrote to security agencies, including the airport security handling agency CISF, asking them to declare a high alert.

Various airlines and agencies operating from the airport have also been asked to keep an eye out for it.

About the idol
The ancient Lord Raghunath idol was brought from Ayodhya in 1684, and is made of eight different metals. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has increased frisking of passengers and is conducting random checks at the airport.

The heist
The gang of thieves allegedly broke into the temple through its roof, and used a rope to remove the main idol. They also stole the ashtadhatu idol of Lord Hanuman, a gold locket and a chain, a gold-plated Narsinh Shila (stone), a silver idol of Lord Ganesh and some other articles of worship last night. The entire heist was executed in the night between December 8 and 9.

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