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Bandits rob Hare Krishna temple
An undisclosed amount of money donated to the Hare Krishna temple—Sri Sri Radha Gopienath Mandir in Longdenville and to the construction of its Sunday school building for the children of the devotees were stolen during an early morning robbery yesterday.
Several devotees, including two women, who are residents at the temple, which stands on a three-acre of land were fortunately not hurt
One of the male devotees, however, who was found sleeping on the temple’s steps, was tied up and taken around by the three thieves—two armed with cutlasses and the other with a gun.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian, resident devotee Devendra Anuja, 65, said he was outside walking in the yard chanting to Lord Krishna until about 2 am before retiring to bed in the upstairs of the temple.
The incident took place at about 2.30 am. It is believed that the men were hiding in an old abandoned cow shed located at the back of the temple.
“The men came through an unlocked door to the back and they came through the main worship area where they broke the padlock to the donation box and took hundreds of dollars that were given by devotees when they attended our Sunday morning service. Then they made their way to the altar where we have all our deities. They looked around and touched nothing,” Anuja said.
“Then they made their way to a back office where they took the money we had raised for the school building and the renovation of the washroom area.” he added.
Devotee Patrick Henry Drakes, who suffers from chronic back pains, said he was sleeping on the steps as he normally do when he was awakened by the men.
“They asked me what I doing here. I told them that I am homeless and I come here to sleep. They tied my hands and we exchanged a few words to them. They brought me to the front of the deity of the founder of the temple and put me stand up asking me where they keep the money. I told them it didn’t have any here that they usually do not keep money here,” Drakes said.
Anuja said that while Drakes stood there one of the men attempted to strike the founder’s deity, “They ended up not doing it.”
He added that the men went upstairs to the women’s quarters and had just opened the door when something distracted them and they went back downstairs, “there were two women in there and luckily the thieves didn’t go in.”
Anuja, however, sent a warning to the three men, saying that “they have a price to pay for what they did.”
“They may break the laws of the land but they cannot break the laws of God and we are confident that they will be punished,” Anuja said.
Pundit Satyanand Maharaj, of the Satya Anand Ashram, said the recent spate of attacks show that criminal elements view religious institutions as “soft targets.”
“It appears that the criminal elements view religious intuitions as soft targets. This, coupled with the fact that the police appear to be impotent to deal with increasing criminality, augments the vulnerability of religious institutions.”
Last Tuesday, thieves broke into the Las Lomas #2 temple since its opening in February for the second time. Last month armed men entered the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir in Freeport where they robbed the spiritual leader Pundit Gajendra Kumar and his family of cash and jewelry.
In December 2017, Father Clyde Harvey was robbed by armed men at St Martin’s RC Church in Gonzales, Belmont, and several other religious buildings were robbed in separate incidents last year.
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