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Bolpur: A village in Birbhum district today burst into angry protests after burglars decamped with a huge quantity of gold and silver ornaments from a Kali temple.

The protesters blocked National Highway for nearly five hours, vandalised a police vehicle, and kept a police team confined in a club room. The situation has calmed down only after a police officer was taken off duty.

All this has happened at Chinpai under Sadaipur police station. There is an old and popular Kali temple at Chinpai and every year Kali Puja is organised at the temple with much fanfare.

According to Samiran Mitra, a trustee of the temple, there were 80 bhori gold and eight kgs of silver ornaments that were gifted to the Goddess by devotees over the past several years.

The ornaments are kept in a safe custody all through the year but for the two days of Kali Puja and Deepavali when the idol is adorned with all the ornaments. Similarly, the ornaments were taken out this time as well and put on the idol on Tuesday, the day of Kali Puja.

“But today morning, when the priest went to open the temple, he found the lock broken. On stepping inside, he was shocked to find all the ornaments missing from the idol. Cash from the donation box was also missing,” Mitra said.

He said that the police had deployed two civic volunteers to guard the temple from the day of Kali Puja, but they were redeployed at another place last night at the direction of the officer-in-charge of Sadaipur police station.

“Around 12.30 midnight, the OC forcibly switched off the mike at the musical soiree and also ordered the lights to be put off at the fair venue as it was already late into the night. This made the people disperse and thus the area fell completely silent after we left the temple premises around 1.30 am. It now seems burglars took advantage of the situation and stole all the ornaments,” Mitra added.

As soon as the news of the burglary spread in the village, people started to gather at the temple premises. The assembled people then resorted to blockading the National Highway 14 located nearby. Women and men sat on the road and burned tyres, bringing traffic to a grinding halt.

On learning about this, a team led by Sadaipur police station OC reached the spot and urged the blockade to be lifted. Instead of paying a heed, the agitators turned their anger at the police: they vandalised a police vehicle and confined the OC into a club room nearby blaming his action responsible for the burglary.

As the news reached the district headquarters, Suri, reinforcement led by additional superintendent of police, Subimal Pal, reached the spot. After hours of negotiation, he managed to convince the agitators to withdraw the blockade around noon by promising action against the OC.

The OC was subsequently “closed”, which in layman’s language means, taken off duty temporarily. Police have also started a drive to identify and nab the miscreants who have burgled the ornaments from the temple.