FIJI BURGLARS CONTINUE TO TARGET HINDU TEMPLES

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, September 17) – Thieves broke into a temple in Koroqaqa, Nausori last night - the third in one week.

Robbers broke into the Vishnu Mandir through the window and damaged the burglar bars.

Vishnu Mandir president Shiu Prasad called on the Government to dish out harsher penalities for thieves who break into areas of worship as such.

"We are very disappointed in the law of this country which doesn't have harsher penalties for thieves who don't have respect for worship areas," said Prasad.

Police found shoe prints inside the temple.

Police have warned religious bodies not to keep cash in places of worship following the recent break-ins.

Earlier this week, thieves broke into the Adi Shakti No Durga Mata Mandir in Nasinu and torched the temple.

On Wednesday morning, thieves broke into a temple in Baulevu and got away with FJD$400 [US$234].

Divisional Police Commander Eastern ASP Kesari Lal said that all the money should be kept in a safe place.

He said most of these places of worship don't have a security guard or in some cases the caretakers houses are meters away.

Lal said it's not a group targeting religious temples only but they have cases where churches and mosques have also been broken into.

"It's just like any other break-in where thieves sometimes damage other things which they can't take with them," he said.

Lal said the Nausori police are investigating the case.

National Fedration Party president Pramond Rao said temples were deliberately being targeted.

Rao said: "It is most unfortunate that offenders are not severly punished for sacrilege."

September 18, 2006

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