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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 22) – Devotees of a Hindu temple were furious yesterday when they found their place of worship ransacked and partly burned.

The Nav Dhurga Mata Mandir, at Kanace Road in Valelevu, was looted and burned.

Mandir President Avikash Chand called it an act of sacrilege.

"The thieves entered by removing the window shutters and stole our money box, which had about $100," he said. "They burned the main dais of our temple."

Mr Chand said the temple, which serves more than 100 devotees in the Valelevu area, has been the target of thieves on previous occasions.

"But this is the first time they burnt our temple," he said. "It is sad when people destroy our worship place and we are angry."

Mr Chand said a passing motorist raised the alarm to a nearby family.

"The family and neighboring devotees put out the fire with water."

Police spokeswoman Unaisi Vuniwaqa said thieves cut a fence to enter the compound and then removed the shutters. She said the matter is under investigation.

December 23, 2004

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