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Shutdown in Jharkhand against theft of idol

Ranchi, July 9 (Calcutta Tube) Several parts of Jharkhand, including this state capital, shut down Friday in response to religious groups calling for a dawn to dusk strike to protest the theft of a three-century-old idol of a Hindu goddess from a temple in Ramgarh district.

The strike has been called by the Mahaveer Madal Samiti, supported by more than a dozen religious organisations.

The strike had a visible impact in many parts of the state.

In Ranchi, protesters burnt tyres on the road and police used baton on the strike supporters while schools and shops remained closed.

There is a complete shutdown in Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Gumla, Ramgarh, Simdega districts, where educational establishments are closed as are shops and attendance in offices is poor. Buses are not plying in some areas.

According to the police, more than 300 strike supporters have been arrested so far.

The idol of goddess Chhinmastika, an avatar of Goddess Durga, was found missing from a temple in Rajrappa, about 70 km from here. Priests opened the temple at 4 a.m. July 2 to discover the theft. Both eyes of the idol were of gold. The eyes were stolen along with 40 kg silver robes and other jewellery.

The Chhinmastika temple is widely revered amongst the people in Jharkhand.

Special Task Force (STF) has been constituted to crack the case.

Police have interrogated 13 people so far, but have found no clue about the theft.

Jharkhand Governor M.O.H. Farook had directed the police to beef up security at temples after the theft.

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