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November 11, 2001
1655 IST

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Idols stolen from Sri Jagannath temple in Puri

Three ancient idols were found missing from the 13th century Sri Jagannath temple on Sunday, temple administration sources said.

One of the missing idols was that of Lord Madan Mohan.

The two-feet high idol, made of Astadhatu (eight metals) was found missing when the priests came around 0500 hours for morning rituals, sources said.

The door of the sanctum sanctorum was also found broken, they added.

The idol, considered to be the representative of Lord Jagannath, is normally kept on the Ratna Simhasan inside the sanctum sanctorum and taken out on ceremonial occasions.

Some priests said the idol was not on the Ratna Simhasan on Saturday and kept in a nearby chamber.

However, it could not be confirmed.

Temple administrator Bhabani Sankar Panda said the last ritual in the night had continued till 0200 hours after which the deities were put to sleep.

The door of the sanctum sanctorum was locked as usual.

The morning rituals for Lord Jagannath were delayed following the incident.

Senior officers including the superintendent of police of Puri district S K Priyadarshi had rushed to the temple.

Three constables of the temple police were on duty inside the temple complex last night.

Meanwhile, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has requested the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the probe into the theft.

PTI

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