A Nandi idol installed in a Shiva temple in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh was damaged on Saturday, leading to tension in the area, The New Indian Express reported on Monday. The idol was installed at a Shiva temple on the premises of Sri Abhaya Anjaneya Swamy Temple at Agara Mangalam village of the district.
Chittoor Deputy Superintendent of Police K Eswar Reddy formed three special teams to investigate the crime. “The Nandi idol, which was made with black stone, had developed cracks a few years ago,” he told reporters. “Then the village elders and temple committee members filled the cracks with ‘seesam’ [a lead-like liquid]. Following this, a rumour circulated that gold is kept under the Nandi idol. In their greed for gold, the culprits might have shifted the Nandi statue behind the temple and broke it.”
Chittoor Superintendent of Police Senthil Kumar said the force has found pieces of the idol, NDTV reported. A case has been registered and a dog squad formed to nab the culprits.
Opposition parties Bharatiya Janata Party and Telugu Desam Party have alleged that many such idols have been desecrated or stolen from temples, claiming these are targeted attacks. There have been as many as 19 incidents, but the police say there is no common thread between them.
“Each of these cases has a different motive, but there have been concerted efforts to link them together and build a narrative,” Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police Gautam Sawang said. “While some incidents were a result of superstition and erosion, a probe is underway in others. We have arrested some persons who were found trying to spin stories around these cases because it creates communal disharmony.” He urged people to report any related information to the police.