Maoists allegedly damaged a 1000-year-old idol of Lord Ganesha located atop a densely forested Dholkal mountain in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Dantewada district, police said.
The vandalised idol was found at the bottom of the hill on Friday, they said.
Police suspect involvement of Maoists in vandalising the idol, citing that ultras were frustrated with the frequent movement of tourists and devotees to the place.
“We have started a probe in the case,” Dantewada superintendent of police Kamlochan Kashyap told PTI.
After some locals who had gone on Thursday to visit the place reported that the idol was missing, a team of police and district administration rushed to the area.
Kashyap along with Dantewada collector Saurabh Kumar reached there for investigation.
“During the search, the broken idol was found lying at around 1,000 feet down the hilltop. Probably it was pushed down from it’s place,” he said.
Prima facie it appears that Maoists were involved in the incident as according to villagers their movement was witnessed a few days back on the mountain range.
Even the informers had tipped off that ultras were frustrated with the frequent visit of tourists and devotees to the place, the officer said.
The SP ruled out any attempt to steal the idol citing that the 4-feet idol was placed on a steep vertical hill and it was not possible for some persons to lift it from there.
It is presumed that the idol was made during the time of Nagvanshi dynasty in the 9th or 10th century on a ‘dhol’ shaped mountain range.
The mountain range lies 14km deep inside forest from Faraspal police station of the district, around 450km away from here. One has to reach to the place on foot through forest route as no road is available there.
Meanwhile, the state’s tourism and culture minister Dayaldas Baghel said an inquiry has been initiated into the incident.
Prime facie it appears that the crime has been committed by some anti-social elements, said the minister, adding, archaeological department and district administration has launched probe into the matter.
The state government is developing Dholkal mountain as a trekking spot since large number of tourists visit there.