Thursday, August 10, 2017

A tiny police wing is trying to bring back the thousands of idols stolen from Tamil Nadu

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By Vinita Govindarajan
The idol of the Dancing sambandar, a young saint, is yet to be retrieved. Credit: India Pride Project
Twirling one end of his jet-black handlebar moustache, Inspector General Ponn Manickavel said: “When the police looks one way, ten idols are stolen on the other side of Tamil Nadu. When we look the other way, twenty more thefts happen on the other side.” It was a warm May afternoon at the Idol Wing of Chennai’s Police Headquarters. For the past five years, Ponn Manickavel has been the head of the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police. The department was formed in 1983 and is dedicated solely to solving cases of idol thefts across the many temples of Tamil Nadu. [More]