Villagers came across upon “ancient gold” while they were renovating a temple near Kancheepuram. It was seized by the authorities and was deposited with the government treasury on Sunday, 13th December despite the locals protesting against the action.
The renovation of the Lord Shiva temple in Uthiramerur was taking place. It was was taken up by the villagers themselves. Gold items which are said to be weighing over half a kg were found. They were found beneath the steps which was leading to the sanctum sanctorum a few days before. On receiving this information and finding out the gold, officials reached the temple and they wanted the gold to be handed over to the government.
While devotees of that temple and the local people declined to part with it and take it away from the temple. They wanted to place the gold again at the very same spot from where it was found after completion of the renovation. The authorities of the temples were firm on taking it as said by the officials. After the talks didn’t work , officials deployed adequate number of police personnel at the village and amid people’s protests, they seized the find. They also packed it in a box and sealed it before taking it away from the temple.
According to the villagers, the temple was many centuries old and also it was believed to belong to the Chola era. One of the local people said that the placing of some gold beneath the temple steps is an auspicious mark and this practice is in vogue since many years. Since the gold belonged to the temple, the authorities had no right to seize it or retain it, they tried to contend and block the policemen and officials from taking the precious metal.
When asked whether they have verified the find of the gold and also about whether it was real gold and if it was centuries old, the Revenue Divisional Officer Vidya said that it looked like gold.
On it’s physical aspects like weight and if the gold was in the form of coins or ornaments, she told that a complete assessment could not be carried out in view of protests by the people.
She said that they only have a count and also said adding the gold was an assortment including one that appeared to be somewhat like a waist chain.
She also said that the gold has been deposited with the treasury. They wanted it to be placed at the same place again at the temple. A police official said the gold weighed about 565 gram as per the information received and the government revenue authorities would take a decision on whether to give back the gold to the temple or not and give it to the government.
Uthiramerur is about 40 km from there and 90 km off Chennai is a temple town, it is hugely popular for its inscriptions that are related to elections even a millennium ago.