Three custodians of an ancient 15th century Shiva temple were murdered inside the temple complex in the early hours of Monday (16 July), The Hindu has reported.
Their bodies were discovered by the villagers in the morning, following which the police was alerted.
The deceased identified as 70-year-old S Shivaramireddy, his elder sister Kadapala Kamalamma, and 70-year-old Satya Lakshmiamma, used to stay inside the temple complex, located in Anantapur district’s Korthikota village.
Shivaramireddy was the temple priest and is survived by his wife and three children who stay in Madanapalli.
The unidentified assailants are believed to have entered the temple premises post midnight and slit the throats of the three custodians. The report claims that the killers also sprinkled blood on the Shiva Lingam and a few anthills.
Locals believe that the assailants could have been treasure hunters, spurred on by a local legend. Reports have also hinted at the possibility of human sacrifice.
Kadiri Rural Circle Inspector T Madhu has stated that the temple was currently undergoing renovation and 4-5 people may be involved in the murders. While the investigation is underway, no arrests have been made so far.