Police clueless about Buddha statue vandalism in Lumbini

A Buddha statue is seen broken into pieces, in Tilottam of Rupandehi, on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Butwal, July 19

Police in Rupandehi district of western Nepal say they are still clueless about who vandalised five Buddha statues along the Butwal-Belahiya road in Tilottama municipality, near Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini, on Wednesday night. They, however, insist that investigation is underway.

The statues, which were okay on Wednesday evening, were found broken into pieces on Thursday morning. Stakeholders have expressed concerns over the incident as it could give a negative message about the upcoming Visit Nepal Year 2020 and overall image of Lumbini among foreign tourists. Some have even feared it could give cause some political and religious tensions.

DSP Dharma Raj Bhandari, spokesperson of the District Police Office, says a six-member investigation team has been formed. DSP Bhim Lal Bhattarai, chief of Butwal Area Police Office, heads the team.

Bhattarai says his team is in problem as the incident site did not have CCTV surveillance. “If there were CCTV cameras, the vandals would be nabbed early,” he states, “But, we will apply every measure to find the truth.”

“So far, we have understood that the vandals had a criminal intention. It should not be connected to religion or politics. That may be misleading.”

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