Police arrested three persons on the charge of stealing historic Shaligrams (ammonite fossils) from Nrisingha Temple in Modibeni, Parbat. The security personnel also seized the stolen Shaligrams from the accused.
Kasam Pun, Suman Gurung and Lekh Bahadur Nepali of Kushma Municipality, in Parbat, were held for their involvement in stealing the Shaligrams, said police while making them public on Monday. Anjan Baraili of Dhading, who is believed to be the kingpin of the racket, is on the run. The search is on to nab him, said police.
The Parbat District Court has remanded the accused trio into judicial custody for a week for further investigation.
As many as 37 Shaligrams, holding great significance in the Hindu religion, were stolen from Nrisingha Temple earlier this year in February. The miscreants broke into the temple and whisked away—along with the Shaligrams—a stone statue of Lord Nrisingha and a donation box.
According to Bhuwaneshwor Tiwari,Deputy Superintendent of Police, one Shaligram was recovered from the suspects while 36 others were found in the Chhamarke forest area. “We are yet to ascertain the total amount in the donation box,” he added.
The recovered Shaligrams were as old as 400 years, with their weight ranging from 1 kg to 5 kg. Gopal Das Paudel, chairman of Nrisingha Temple Management Committee, said the temple was home to the Shaligrams after the shrine was constructed in 1890 BS.
Shaligrams are special fossil stones found mainly on the banks of the Kaligandaki River. Besides its religious importance, Shaligrams are also considered important for geologists who argue that the spherical carvings are fossils of the aquatic insect named ammonite that are now extinct.