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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Three Hindu priests bludgeoned to death in famous Karnataka temple in alleged robbery

Three priests of a famous temple in Karnataka were bludgeoned to death with boulders by a gang during an alleged robbery bid on Thursday night.

The bodies of the priests, identified as Ganesh (55), Prakash (60) and Anand (42), were found in a pool of blood by the villagers after they found the door of Sri Arakeshwara temple at Guttalu on the outskirts of Mandya city open on Friday morning.

The three deceased were cousins and served as temple priests. They used to sleep on the premises for security of the temple and its property, the police stated.

Police said that robbery could be the motive behind these murders as the three hundis (donation boxes) were moved outside the temple premises and the cash offerings looted while coins were left behind. However, the assailants also ransacked the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

Sri Arakeshwara temple, Mandya, Karnataka

As per a Times of India report, “Mandya police is taking help of sniffer dogs to track the culprits and forensic experts have started collecting the evidences from the crime scene. Mandya SP Parashuram said that special teams will be formed to trace the culprits. A case has been registered in Mandya East police station.”

The temple comes under the government  ‘Hindu Dharmika Samsthegalu Mathu Dharmadaya Datti Ilake’ (Hindu religious organizations and endowment department), earlier known as Muzrai department. It was built during the 12th century in the time of Cholas.

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has ordered an inquiry into the brutal murders of the 3 priests and announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the kin of the deceased.

This is the latest in a series of brutal attacks on Hindu priests and sadhus, often within temple premises, which are officially classified  as robbery, burglary, personal enmity etc. While temple desecration and robberies have been commonplace for a long time, brutal murders of Hindu holy men seems to be a new trend.

The lynching of 2 sadhus and their driver in Palghar on 16 April had shocked the whole nation, and the heartless way in which Maharashtra police handed over a frail elderly Swami Kalpavriksh Giri to the blood-thirsty mob is seared into public memory. Eyewitness statements, video testimony and findings of a fact-finding team comprising retired judges, lawyers, and police officers points at a deeper conspiracy involving NCP and CPM politicians and other anti-Hindu organisations. Moreover, the ‘secular’ Maharashtra govt’s stubborn refusal to hand over the Palghar probe to a central body like CBI or NIA despite Supreme Court criticising the tardy state police investigation has further raised eyebrows.

Just a month later, two Lingayat (a Hindu sampraday or tradition which originated in Karnataka) sadhus were brutally murdered in their ashram in Nanded, Maharashtra in another alleged robbery gone wrong. Another blood-curdling crime took place in Auraiya, UP couple of years back where 3 sadhus had their tongues cut and throats slit by cattle smugglers for tipping police about their crimes.

After the Palghar lynching, a string of murders or attacks on priests and sadhus have been reported from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and now Karnataka, while a series of desecrations and suspicious fires in Andhra Pradesh have created fear and desperation in minds of Hindus already facing the brunt of the Christian missionary mafia.

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