Mysore: Seeing their own priests charged with stealing from the premises, authorities at the over 1000-year-old Sri Cheluvanarayana Swamy temple in Melkote, have decided to install CCTV cameras at the entrance of the sanctum sanctorum as a precaution against such crime in future.
The historic temple received a nasty jolt recently after its High Priest Narasaraja Bhat was found guilty of pocketing gold and silver ornaments gifted to it by a devotee. Unwilling to face similar embarrassment in future, the temple committee president, Ramesh Raju held an informal discussion with deputy commissioner B.N. Krishnaiah on installing CCTV cameras at the shrine recently, according to reliable sources.
The CCTVs could also be installed at other important temples that generate significant revenue and have a large jewellery inventory in Melkote, the authorities said. "The CCTV cameras will help us not only keep watch on any suspicious activity at the shrine, but also give us evidence in case of a crime," said a temple committee member.
The Cheluvanarayana Swamy temple is an ‘A’ grade temple visited by lakhs of devotees annually and generates huge revenue. While local priest and petitioner in the case, Narasaraja Bhat case, Srinivasan, welcomed the move to install the CCTV cameras at the temple to prevent thefts, he was sceptical about how effective they would be.
“The Mandya district administration had installed such CCTVs in the past too, but failed to maintain them properly,” Bhat said, hoping the cameras would do a better job this time.