A leading Newspaper has reported the extradition of an U.S. based antique dealer in connection with the theft of idols from the Temples of Tamilnadu. The paper has published a picture of the dealer with a caption, "God of all Smugglers". The reporter should mend his language that the prefix given to a smuggler is properly worded. "How he did it and "How was he caught?" should be left to the Police rather than revealing everything in public which can misguide many people to repeat the crime by altering the action plan . Above all, the Newspaper has given caption to the entire story as " India must auction all antiques, says Kapoor." Who is Kapoor to suggest auction of the treasures of India? Why is his unhealthy comments given so much importance by the Newspaper by making the irresponsible comment as the title of the story? The paper further reports that the dealer was fond of Idly,Vada, Sambar . Alas! What a downfall for Indian Journalism!
The public is not only interested in the capture of anti nationals but also to recover every item that has been smuggled out of the country. It is funny that the accused argues that his business to sell stolen idols was not illegal! It merely exposes the loopholes in the Legal system of the World. If the law is not stringent, smugglers will take advantage of it and mere formation of economic offences wing will not serve in a big way.
HR&CE appears to be least interested in preventing the thefts when they plead shortage of manpower. All they do at present is the removal of Panchaloka idols from unsafe places and keep them safe somewhere away. One wonders what could be the role of the Union Government in preventing the thefts.
Each Temple should be given protection on par with the museums. A check list has to be issued to all executive officers of the temples to ensure the safety of the idols. A safety audit has to be conducted across the state to ensure the strength of the boundary wall, the main doors, locking arrangements, emergency lights and alarms , security at the main entrance, safety of ornaments etc. Mock drills are be arranged to create awareness among the villagers to get training in case of any emergency.
Instead of publishing boxed items on crimes, the Press should rather come out with an action plan of calling for a corpus fund to establish all measures for the protection of antiques that belong to the Temples. We keep the fingers crossed as no newspaper is prepared to set an example for others to follow. The Journalists should therefore act sensibly and try to alert the public in a proper way instead of describing the offender as God. It may mean "Supremo" to the Press but not to the devotee.