YUBA CITY, CA - A battle is brewing in Yuba City over a holy statue from a Hindu temple. The religious icon was found outside by the dumpsters.
"I started shaking. I didn't know what to do. It's our religion being tossed away," said Himant Pandit, a worshipper.
Pandit said he was devastated that an important religious icon representing Shiva, the creator and destroyer of humanity, was found outside the Sri Narayan Hindu Temple wrapped in a black trashbag. He said he got permission from the temple caretaker and temple founder to take it home for safekeeping.
Meanwhile, the temple caretaker said she put the statue outside by the rosebushes---temporarily--- to clear out the smell and the bugs. She said the icon was a magnet for bugs. Worshipers would make offerings and rub yogurt and honey on the icon and not wash it off with water.
"I said we had a big problem. It was worms," said Sushil Bhopal, the temple caretaker. "Sometimes, flies, and mosquitos come."
The temple board and founder now want the icon back, saying it's temple property. But, Pandit says the icon has been desecrated and needs to be replaced. The temple has replaced the icon with one a fraction of the size.
The temple's attorney was unavailable for comment Monday evening.
By Suzanne Phan, firstname.lastname@example.org