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Monday, 12 November, 2001, 12:44 GMT
Indian temple statue recovered
Devotee offers prayers at the Jagannath temple
There has been a string of robberies at Orissa temples recently
One of two Hindu statues stolen from a 12th century temple in the eastern Indian state of Orissa over the weekend has been found inside a well.

Map showing location in Orissa
Authorities said it was still unclear how the statue, thought to be worth more than $200,000, came to be in the well in the temple complex.

The statue depicts Madan Mohan, believed to be the "living" representative of the temple's main Jagannath deity.

Police said on Sunday they suspected that burglars looking for gems and jewellery stored in the temple in the town of Puri had had to make do with the statues.

The recovered statue is made of eight precious metals, including silver and is normally taken out every morning for religious ceremonies.

Investigation

The second statue that also disappeared on Sunday has yet to be recovered.

The AFP news agency reported that the Madan Mohan statue was found by fire brigade personnel who pumped the water out of the well.

The government has suspended the police officers who were guarding the temple complex.

State Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced the investigation will be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Orissa has been hit by a number of temple thefts in the past few weeks.

Last Monday silver and gold was stolen from the Lingaraj temple in the capital Bhubaneshwar, and a month ago three statues were stolen from another temple in Orissa.

See also:

18 Oct 01 | South Asia
Ayodhya temple security stepped up
11 Sep 01 | South Asia
Kashmir shepherd hits temple jackpot
09 Nov 01 | South Asia
Asoka statues unearthed in India
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