BURGLARS HAVE not even spared religious places in Chandigarh. As many as 21 places, including 12 temples, three gurdwaras, two mosques, one church and three dargahs, have been burgled in the last four years. Eight of the 12 temples targeted are of Lord Shiva. As many as 16 people have been arrested for committing theft at these religious places and six of the 20 accused had been convicted for past crimes.
The statistics of burglaries, especially at places of worship and procured from the police, revealed that a majority of them were reported between 2014 and 2015. Also, 13 of the 21 incidents were reported in these two years.
Two latest burglaries were reported from Sai Mandir at Sector 29 on June 23 and Guga Mari Temple, Sector 36, on July 4. The burglars have been arrested in connection with both the incidents and most of the stolen valuables, including jewellery and cash, were recovered from them.
In 2014, a total of eight religious places, including seven temples and one gurdwara, was targeted. In 2015, five places, including three temples, one gurdwara and one church, were targeted. In 2016, a temple and a mosque were targeted. Till July 5, 2017, five places, including three temples, a gurdwara and a mosque have been targeted.
Inspector Narinder Patial, who cracked the theft case of Sai Mandir-29 and arrested three persons, including two burglars, said, “The religious places are a soft target for thieves. Everybody has easy access to cash boxes kept at all the shrines. Thieves can easily understand the topography of religious places by visiting these places as devotees. The management of these places should adopt sophisticated safety equipment, including siren system-cum-censor system. CCTV cameras have become a routine thing and thieves know how to avoid them.”
Suresh Sharma ‘Pandit’, a member of Sanatan Dharam Sabha, Tricity, said, “Religious places have become easy targets in the last few years. We have taken up this issue with senior police officers at a recent interaction between priests and the police department in Sector 29.”
The famous Jama Masjid at Sector 20 was burgled on May 20, 2016. A Catholic church at Sector 19 was burgled in January 2015.