The Madras High Court also pointed out that it was the priests’ duty to report cases of missing idols to government officials.

Madras HC slams mechanical Mylapore priests for laxity in reporting idol thefts
news Court Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 18:30

The Madras High Court slammed the priests of the Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore, Chennai, for their laxity in reporting the theft of idols that took place under their watch in 2004. Coming down heavily on the priests on Tuesday, the court said that the priests were not doing divine service but, rather, were doing mechanical work.

In his comments on the idol theft case, Justice R Mahadevan expressed concern that the priests had been lax in their approach towards the missing idols case. The court was hearing a petition by Rangarajan Narasimhan, who had demanded that the kumba abhishegam of the temple be conducted without the missing peacock statue with flowers in its mouth.

He also contended that the current statue next to the lingam has a snake in its mouth, in contravention of traditional agama rules.

Justices R Mahadevan and PD Adikesavulu, who make up the special bench constituted to hear idol theft cases, asked why the priests did not bring the case of the missing idols in the temple to the attention of government officials. The court also pointed out that it was the priests’ duty to do so.

The petitioner sought the dissolution of the current temple management and the formation of a committee, comprising agama experts and legal experts headed by a retired judge of the Madras High Court, to decide upon the management of the temple.

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) stated that since investigations by the idol wing of the Tamil Nadu police were on, they would require four weeks to submit their response.

In August, the Madras High Court ordered investigations into the alleged theft of idols and other antiquities at the Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore based on Rangarajan's petition. Rangarajan had alleged that the peacock that represents Parvati doing puja for Shiva at the Kapaleeswarar temple has been replaced.

It is in connection with this case that TVS chief Venu Srinivasan had applied for anticipatory bail. As stated by his own counsel, Venu Srinivasan had reportedly undertaken crores worth of renovation work at the temple being a devotee of both the Kapaleeswarar temple as well as the Srirangam temple. Rangarajan alleges that it was during the repair work that several idols have gone missing.

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