Maoists hand over five ‘idol thieves’ to police

Khalanga (Pyuthan), January 25:

The Maoists today handed over five alleged idol thieves to the police. The Maoists had taken them into custody two-and-a-half months ago on the charge of stealing an idol from the Kalikasthan temple in Bijubar.

Govinda Acharya of the CPN (Maoist) handed over Dilanath Yogi, Hiranath Yogi, priest of the temple Minnath Yogi, Pushpa Lal Shrestha and Govinda Basnet of Dang, all trustees of the temple, to the head of the district police office Shyam Gyawali in the presence of the journalists, human rights activists and relatives of the accused.

Findings of the Maoists’ investigation team were also handed over to the local police.

The alleged thieves accused the Maoists of subjecting them to severe torture in detention.

Main accused in the case, Dilanath Yogi, said they confessed to stealing the idol owing to severe torture. “We will bring back the idol within 15 days,” he said. Hiranath Yogi and others also narrated their suffering while they were in detention.

Govinda Acharya, however, said none except Dilanath Yogi admitted to the crime.

The idol was stolen on November 6. The locals had caught Dilanath Yogi on the suspicion of his involvement in the theft and handed him over to the Maoists.