MALACCA: Thieves broke into two century-old Hindu temples here carting away gold ornaments and accessories.
They struck the Batu 18, Maha Mariamman temple in Kesang Pajak in Jasin and also the Sri Subramaniam Temple at Batu Berendam, here on Friday.
Kesang Pajak Maha Mariamman Temple’s committee chairman B. Murugan said the thieves carted away some RM15,000 worth of gold ornaments and necklaces adorning deities inside the temple.
He said thieves gained entry by prising open the front grille when the temple was closed.
“We believe it could have occurred between 1am and 5am. The theft was discovered by the temple priest when he arrived at 6am,” he said yesterday.
Murugan said the temple committee will hold a special prayer session on Feb 12 as a rite to cleanse the temple after the theft.
“Devotees have forgiven those responsible for the theft. We can only pray that the thieves will repent if he or she was part of a religious cult,” he said.
A committee member of the Sri Subramaniam temple said devotees were upset when they heard the temple was broken into.
“Some cried openly when they arrived at the temple on hearing the news,” said the committee member, who requested anonymity adding that a gold chain and locket were stolen.
The thieves failed to break into the temple’s vault that contained an assortment of gold ornaments.
“What really hurts all of us was the way the temple was ransacked and the person behind the theft had no fear for God. We have to have a full consecration ceremony costing close to RM100,000 due to the break-in,” he said.
State CID chief Asst Comm Raja Shahrom Raja Abdullah confirmed receiving police reports from both the temple committees on Friday and investigations were ongoing.
State MIC chairman Datuk M.S. Mahadevan said based on accounts from previous cases, the thieves could have been driven to rob based on the unfounded belief that they would have power to cure illnesses and gain instant wealth by possessing gold ornaments from Hindu temples.
Mahadevan said the thieves could be part of a deviant religious group that believed that such ornaments had mystical powers with years of exposure to hymns and prayers, adding that the loot could have also been handed over to other cult members.
In October last year, police here recovered about RM20,000 worth of religious statues and prayer items from Hindu and Buddhist temples when they arrested a 23-year-old drug user and a 51-year-old man.