In a shocking murder that has sent shock waves in the area, two pujaris (priests) in a temple in an Uttar Pradesh village were brutally murdered on the intervening night of Tuesday-Wednesday. Villagers suspect the killings have been carried out by people involved in illegal cow smuggling and slaughter as the sadhus had recently tipped the police about such a crime in their vicinity, as per various reports.
The incident took place in Auraiya, some 100 kilometres from Kanpur, in a temple named Bhayanak Nath temple in Bidhuna area. When the police arrived, three sadhus were found tied to cots. Two of them, Hariram and Lajjaram, were dead; one of them had his tongue slit, while other had his throat slit. The third sadhu, Ramsharan, who was grievously injured was sent to a hospital in Saifai in Etawah where he is undergoing treatment. The victims were aged between 50 and 60.
After the incident, an angry crowd demonstrated on the streets with the bodies. As per reports, the police resorted to tear gas and opened fire in the air to dispel the crowd that allegedly burnt down some shops and torched vehicles. The villagers demanded a meeting with the state’s Chief Minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath.
The CM has since announced Rs 5 lakh each for the deceased's families and Rs 1 lakh for the injured. Orders have also been issued to find the culprits within 48 hours.
A first information report was filed on Wednesday (15 August) evening by the brother of one of the deceased. Three police officers have been reportedly suspended.
A Danik Jagran report said that both Lajjaram and Hariram had been living in the temple for one-and-a-half years and actively opposed cow smuggling and slaughter. The two routinely tipped the police about such crimes and had got several people arrested. This is why the villagers are suspecting the act to be the handiwork of the cow smuggling mafia active in the area.
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