Chain snatchings at Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple
Thiruvananthapuram: The Left opposition in the Kerala assembly Tuesday picked holes in the security at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, where fabled treasures were recently discovered, as several chain snatching incidents have come to light.
Intervening during a question raised by Congress legislator Palode Ravi about the temple, former home minister and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said with so much treasure, the security there was appallingly poor.
"Did you all not read in the newspaper that in a matter of 12 hours yesterday (Monday) four chain snatching incidents took place and now you say that you have provided complete security to the priceless treasure stored in the temple," Balakrishnan said.
He made this statement soon after Devaswom Minister V.S. Sivakumar said elaborate security arrangements under a team of top police officials led by Additional Director General of Police Venugopalan K. Nair has been put up in and around the temple.
"You say all this and then how come in a short period of time these chain snatching incidents were reported? Is this the way you are providing security? It is really shameful that you can't even put up a proper security ring," he added.
In May, a Supreme Court-appointed seven-member committee was appointed to prepare an inventory of the treasures contained in six vaults inside the temple premises.
Rubies, diamonds, pure gold statues and coins which have been unofficially estimated to be valued at over Rs.one lakh crore were discovered.
"The examination process of the apex court committee is still not over. The chief minister (Oommen Chandy) has made it clear that the temple's security cover will be the responsibility of the state government," Sivakumar said.
Ever since reports surfaced of the treasure stored in five of the six vaults that have been opened, people from all over are now making a beeline for the temple.
Chain snatchers made a killing Monday when they snatched three chains and Monday night a chain was snatched from a woman who was sleeping at her home near the temple.
The Kerala Police have placed a security cover of around 53 policemen inside the temple and another 74 officials posted outside it, besides opening a 24-hour control room at the police station situated close to the temple.
Palode Ravi, who raised the question of security, demanded that the state government request the central government to declare the temple as a national pilgrimage centre.
"We should also request the centre to see that they provide a military security cover also besides the state police security," said Ravi.
The state government has already made it clear that the treasure is the property of the temple and their duty is to provide the security.