Worshippers of the Lakrani Ganesh Mandir in Penal are disappointed and upset after their temple was broken into and desecrated last wee.
The perpetrator smashed a murti, pulled off the clothes from the other murtis, stole a speaker box and left a cigarette butt behind.
The theft was discovered by the temple’s vice president Rekha Cassie when she went to open the temple at Gopie Trace on Friday around 8 am.
The temple was ransacked. A Ganesh murti was in pieces on the ground and a large speaker box was missing. A flash drive was also missing but it was subsequently found behind a cupboard.
“We find cigarette, like he was smoking and he pelt it in the back by the curtain. We lucky the temple did not burn down,” said Cassie.
She believes only one man carried out the act, as he was seen via CCTV footage walking along the road with their speaker box.
Cassie said she would usually open the temple every day but it remained closed on Thursday because of flooding in the community.
Recalling what she met on Friday, she said, “We saw the temple was broken into through the back door. The person kicked open the door, burst up the locks and entered the temple, ransacked the temple, came inside, searched the murtis between the clothes to see if there was money hidden there, damaged our donation box and took one of the speakers from the temple.”
She said they don’t leave money in the temple but noted that during nightly prayers, they pick up money and place it by the temples.
Being a self-funded temple, she explained that the money is used to buy groceries and pay the electricity bill.
Cassie lamented the lack of respect being shown for places of worship.
“This is a tragedy. It is very depressing. We did work in this temple just a few months ago. We paint over, bought new chairs and we were looking forward to the Ganesh Utsav. Everything passed really nice. The villagers were happy. And right after everything finished, to come and meet this is really depressing.”
She said from tonight, they will begin another three nights of worship.
Given this experience, she had this advice for other places of worship, “Just be careful, lock up. You never know who could be in your temple or in your church or in your mosque coming to pray, but some of them not just coming to pray, they just coming to scrutinise to see what you have and what you don’t have so they could come back and carry it out.”
Cassie noted that the temple does charity work in and around the area and she urged that if someone is in need of help, they should ask for help instead of stealing from the temple.
Sgt Boodlal, PC Hosein and PC Ramdass, of the Penal Police Station, visited the scene and investigations are continuing.
So far this year, several places of worship have been vandalised and desecrated, including a Hindu temple in Carapo, the St Francis Roman Catholic Church in Belmont and the St John’s Anglican Church in Petit Bourg, where an historic bell was stolen.