SABIN CHANDRA ACHARYA
KATHMANDU: The Tarkakhor Monastery in Bargaun- 5 of Humla will get back an ancient idol of Buddha, which was stolen on October 1, 2011, after the police confiscated the priceless heritage recognised the Department of Archaeology, from Bouddha of Kathmandu.
The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police recently impounded the Sange Menlha bronze idol, which is 33 cm tall, weighs 2.5 kg from the clutches of a gang member involved in the armed robbery at the monastery
According to the CIB, as many as eight people were held from separate places of Kathmandu in the connection with the idol’s robbery and smuggling in the past couple of days.
The arrestees are identified as Narendra Lama aka Kalu (38) of Humla, Kamal Lama aka Maila (41) of Dolakha, Lok Bahadur Aidi (30) of Humla, Shankar Shahi (26) of Banke, Pratap Tokaya (24) of Humla, Dhan Bahadur Baral aka Bipin (29) of Daileskh, Karma Tamang (40) of Mugu and Kamal Rana (26) of Salyan. Of them, Pratap and Kamal are associated with the UCPN-Maoist. Kalu is said to be the mastermind behind the armed robbery.
Three persons -- Rangkamal Rokaya, Bijaya Budha Chhetri and Raju Tamang-- involved in robbery are still at large.
The gang kept the idol in their hide-out in Kohalpur of Banke for few days and smuggled it to the Capital to find prospective clients. The idol was found hidden in Karma’s rented room in Bouddha.
Interestingly, a criminal racket of five others, including Lokendra Shahi (25), Shankar Sharma aka Kingkat (26) of Jumla, Nirman Budha aka Ravi (36) of Rukum and Kumar Lama (29) of Makwanpur, got a tip off about the idol and seized it from Karma. Shankar and Nirman are affiliated with the Maoist sister organistations. They also have been arrested.
Karma had paid Rs 100,000 to the gang to get the idol back and assured them of providing with Rs 400,000 more after its sale.