A group of thieves entered the Sabaragamuwa ‘Maha Saman’ Temple’s offering store and stole several lakhs worth of currency notes that were kept in sacks.
The relevant offering store is built in a part of the official residence of the Basnayake Nilame of the temple, and an iron cover has also been put on it.
In spite of this, it has been revealed that the thieves have entered the gift store by breaking the roof, ceiling and iron mesh cover.
It is noteworthy that the theft took place in a background where there was a police station and 60 CCTV cameras operating 24 hours a day.
However, in our inquiry, Basnayaka Nilame mentioned that he had made several written requests to the Ratnapura Police to provide a police officer for security at the ‘offering chambers’.
There are 5 main offering boxes belonging to Sabaragamuwa Maha Saman Temple, and after those boxes are full, they are taken and deposited in the respective offering store.
After that, the offerings are separated into notes and coins under the supervision of the officers of the Buddhist Affairs Department and the Basnayaka Nilamewarya and taken to the bank.
The money is taken to the bank and the money is counted from the respective state bank and this time the theft took place when the sacks of offerings were stored in the offering warehouse for nearly three days until the bank officials arrived.
The thieves reportedly took only sacks of notes.
Migara Jayasundara Bandara of Sabaragamuwa Maha Saman Temple, Basnayake Nilame said in this regard that thieves had previously tried to enter this treasury on the 4th and 10th of October last year.
The theft has taken place in a background where there is a 24-hour police station in front of the official residence of Basnayake Nilamewarya, guards and 60 CCTV cameras have been installed to protect the temple.
However, it is also reported that the officers who were on duty at the police station were transferred to another police station after the related theft.
Villagers who commented on this theft,
“These are the mistakes of the authorities. It has been 6 to 7 months now and the camera system has been installed with 60 cameras. They are not maintained. Can’t even see anything properly. We cannot believe that this theft happened. The authorities should look into these aspects. The police have nothing to do. There is a police station, they eat and sleep only. Authorities have to look into these shortcomings. Or the temple of Saman will be demolished and taken away. People just have to bow down to the idea of God. If thieves take it away.”
“As villagers, we say that the suspects must be arrested. Otherwise, as young people, we are not able to live in the village. There are ancient ornaments inside the temple. These are likely to disappear if the authorities do not take proper action.”
“Many thefts happened over a period of time. But apparently no one was arrested for a single one. Did not really take the summons until God punishes? Or is it really impossible to find? It is a big doubt for us.”