This beautiful 1500-year old idol is stolen, inside job suspected

Mehsana, 21 February 2012

Is theft of a 1500-year old Chakreshwari mata’s murti in north Gujarat’s Umta an insider job? Possibly yes.

Over 70 idols including Chakreshwari idol were discovered during excavation in Umta few years back.

In year 2001, as many as 74 Jain idols were discovered from Rajgadhi tekra of Umta village. Of them 16 were handed over to Shwetambars while 58 were given to Digambar sect of Jain faith on condition that they will be kept properly with enough provision of safety and none of the idols will be taken out of the limit of Umta village.

According to sources, few years back village people had caught a thief and beaten him. This thief was a person from the sect itself and wanted to steal the idol to take it outside the limit of Umta, which was otherwise not possible as per the condition put by the state archaeology department while handing over the idols to Digambars. Police complaint was not filed in this incident, but locals know about it. Locals claim that Digambars want to take this staue to Rajasthan which is legaly not possible.

The Archaeological department had also ordered for compulsory antiquity registration of idols. Accordingly such registration fo Chakreshwari devi idol was completed. Idols registered as antiquity becomes safe, even in the incident of theft, as such idols can be brought back from foreign country too through interpol under the international law.

Umta is 8 km from Visnagar in Mehsana district. As per the present version of facts, around a dozen thieves barged into the mandir after breaking the gate and stole 2.5 ft high idol weighing 90 kg. The thieves did not tough the silver crown, umbrella studded with ornaments.

Local Crime Branch is probing the matter.

The 2007 incident

In May 2007 a complaint was filed in Visnagar police station by Trustee Kiritbhai Ratilal Shah against a person alleging attempt of stealing the Jain idol from Kunthunath Jain derasar, controlled by Shwetambars.

One Jayantibhai Dave was cleaning the Jain idols in Sonaram Jain mandir at around 9.00 am when a person wearing white and yellow cloths came for puja. When asked which sect he belonged to, he replied that he was Digambar. When one Subhadraben Shah came here, she saw that one of the seven idols was missing. She called priest Jaydevbhai and asked her about possible theft. When Shantinath bhagwan’s idol was not found, a complaint was filed in police station.

Ever since the idols are discovered in year 2001, there’s clash between Shwetambars and Digambars for their possession.

The 2010 incident

In 2010 three persons Jain Rahul alias Sonu Rajkumar, Jain Saten Rajkumar and Jain Sumar Rajkumar were held for allegedly stealing the cheques of Muni Nirbhaysagar Jain Kalyan Samiti, and withdrew Rs 1,12,500 from account. Nirbhaysagar Jain Kalyan Samiti is a body that controls a Digambar sect Jain mandir of Umta.

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