Theft in Maharashtra's crime free temple village



Ahmednagar, Maharashtra: The centuries old reputation of Maharashtra's Shani-Shingnapur village pilgrim centre, where houses have no doors or locks, has been sullied with a reported theft, police said.

A young man from Gurgaon in Haryana complained to police that he had lost cash and valuables worth Rs.35,000 Monday, assistant police inspector B.D. Mane said Tuesday.

"This is the first complaint we have received in several years. How many years, I cannot say without checking the records," Mane said.

According to Manjul Satyabhan Sherawat, he was travelling with six youths when a person Monday hitched a lift in their vehicle a few kilometres away from the village in Ahmednagar district.

He detected the theft after the person was dropped.

"I lost around Rs.3,000 cash, an expensive mobile phone and a digital camera, all valued at around Rs.35,000. Police have no clue but they have recommended monitoring my cell phone number," Sherawat, who runs a computer service station in Gurgaon, said.

Shani-Shingnapur, a small village with a population of around 2,000, is situated around 375 km from Mumbai. It attracts many thousands of Hindus who pray at its famed temple dedicated to Lord Shani or Saturn.

The village is renowned because no thefts or robberies ever take place there. It is believed that its presiding deity, Shani, protects the area.

The houses in the village have no doors or locks -- just curtains to protect the privacy of the occupants. People leave their homes unattended for hours or days without incurring any theft.

This is the reason the nearest police station - Sonai - serving the village is situated five kilometers from the heart of the city, where a token police outpost exists.

IANS