Ponn Manickavel petitions cops on loot of Chola-era temple idols

The two idols were smuggled out of the country and they are now in possession of either international idol traffickers or some art galleries.
Ponn Manickavel petitions cops on loot of Chola-era temple idols
Ponn ManickavelFile photo

CHENNAI: Ponn Manickavel, the former special officer of the High Court-appointed special team of Idol Wing CID, has lodged a complaint with Villupuram police stating as many as 11 antique idols and artefacts of a temple there have been stolen and smuggled out of the country.

According to the complaint, the idols, which are 800 to 960 years old, were stolen from the Agatheswaram Udaya Mahadevar temple at Olakkur, a Chola-era temple. Ponn Manickavel claimed the theft of the idols happened 50 to 60 years ago and the HR&CE officials never bothered to investigate it.

The two idols were smuggled out of the country and they are now in possession of either international idol traffickers or some art galleries.

The retired police officer noted that there is documentary evidence to prove the existence of antique Vigneswarar idol and ney thangi (lamp post), which is also antique, in the temple.

The two antique items were removed from the temple without the knowledge of the villagers under the pretext of safety by then HR&CE officer, said Ponn Manickvel. He further alleged that those two items were handed over to the idol traffickers. The former IG also noted that an antique Somaskandar panchaloha idol panel also went missing from the temple.

Other antique items that are missing are Thani Amman, panchaloha idol of Vatapi Vinthagar, and stone idols of Pilliayar, Dakshinamurthy, Lingthbavar, Durga, Bhrama and Bhiaravar.

The antique idols were stolen from Agatheswaram Udaya Mahadevar temple at Olakkur

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