- An idol of Lord Shiva was found damaged in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district
- The incident took place in Ram-Rachna meadow, in Marmat tehsil close to Doda town.
- An FIR had been registered in connection with the vandalized idol
Police Friday booked some unidentified people after a Lord Shiva idol was found damaged in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda, with officials suspecting frosting might have damaged it as it is in the open. The incident took place in Ram-Rachna meadow, also known as 'Chota Mani-Mahesh, in Marmat tehsil which is situated around 90 kilometers from Doda town. Locals and a priest found the idol, located at a height of 12,300 feet, partially damaged, they said.
"After receiving a written complaint at police post-Goha, we immediately registered an FIR under IPC section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) at the police post and an investigation has been taken up," SSP Doda Abdul Qayoom said. "Accordingly, police from Goha, along with the temple committee, visited the spot. Our team is camping near Ram-Rachna and the investigation is going on," he said.
The Ram-Rachna meadow remains snow-covered for six months, and the idol of Lord Shiva there is made of concrete. Every year, nearly 20,000 to 25,000 pilgrims from Doda, Udhampur, Kathua and Ramban districts visit the high-altitude meadow between July and September after the snow melts to offer prayers.
As per initial investigations, the idol might have been damaged due to frosting as it is made of concrete and is in the open, a senior officer who visited the spot and is part of the investigation said. "The idol remains under snow at sub-zero temperatures. A picture clicked in April also shows some signs of wear and tear on the idol," he said. The administration has appealed for calm and requested people not to fall prey to exaggerated social media reports.
Earlier, officials said the FIR had been registered in connection with a vandalized idol. On Monday, an idol of Lord Hanuman was found damaged at Dhamlar-Morha village in Mahanpur, triggering a protest by locals. Prior to that, a temple was vandalized in the Sidhra area of Jammu on April 8, followed by a similar incident at Vasuki Naag temple in the upper reaches of Doda district on June 5 and the alleged damaging of an idol in Kathua district on July 12.