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Stolen Deity hurts family in Fiji

A family in Valelevu woke up on January 18 to find a statue of Hanuman missing along with a few metal pipes.

Sarveen Dutt of Valelevu said he was certain it was the work of scrap metal thieves in the area.

“It is an insult to my religion. I suspect three people lurking around our compound the day before. We chased them away,” he said.

Mr Dutt said there was a scrap metal dealer nearby, a perfect place to sell stolen copper. He appealed to the thieves to return the item.

The statue of the deity has been with the family for a long time.

“It cost about $F 90 but its religious value is priceless. We have reported the matter to police and work with them to build a case.” Mr Dutt said.

Police are warning residents to be vigilant after a spate of burglaries.

Police Assistant Spokesman Atunaisa Sokomuri said burglaries were usually confined to daytime when the houses were empty, but recently such incidents occurred at night.

“Residents should not panic over their security as the risk is still small, but I would advise that they take this opportunity to review the situation. Most burglars will try to break in to the building from the rear, so preventing access is your first line of defence. People should ensure that their boundaries are secure and consider fitting a low-profile spiky topping to walls and fences,” he said.

Inspector Sokomuri urged residents to get in touch with the Police if they saw any activity that was “out of the ordinary” in their neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) appealed to the people of Fiji to respect the values and practices of people from different religious groups.

The Forum’s Chief Executive Reverend Akuila Yabaki said Fiji was always known for its multicultural trait with tolerance and respect for all religions.

“We deplore the actions of thieves who stole Hindu religious Deity from a family residence in Valelevu. This is a violation of the human rights the Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion, and also the Right to Own Property,” he said.

He called on religious organisations, parents and community leaders, to create understanding of human rights to children and community members.

“An increased knowledge of human rights can create better understanding and respect for various religious and cultural practices. The Government should create racial and religious tolerance if it is committed to multiculturalism,” Rev Yabaki said.

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