LUCKNOW: Tension gripped Bidhuna police station area of Auraiya district on Wednesday when two priests were found murdered in a temple’s premises in Kudarkot locality, with a third one found badly injured. He was taken to Saifai Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in a critical condition.
Agitated over the killings, local people blocked Bidhuna road, creating a huge traffic jam, indulged in arson and vandalism, damaged shops, and resorted to heavy brick batting. When a police force reached the spot, residents started pelting stones and firing from rooftops on the cops.
The police retaliated by firing several rounds in the air to disperse the agitating mob. A contingent of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) was called in to bring the situation under control. Subsequently, the cops pacified the agitators with an assurance of quick action against the culprits and convinced them to allow vehicular traffic.
Auraiyya district administration has ordered the closure of schools, colleges and markets in view of the unrest and tension in the area. Security arrangements have been beefed up in Kudarkot. A forensic team and senior police officials, including an SP and CO, have reached the spot and a probe into the case is on.
According to IG Alok Singh, a number of factors, including land dispute and a motive of loot, were emerging as the cause for the murder of the priests. Besides, the victims were quite vocal in opposing cattle smuggling which could also be a reason for the killing, he said adding that the police probe was focusing in that angle as well. Eight police teams were set up to trace the unidentified killers.
As per the local sources, three priests-Sadhu Ram, 65, and Halke Ram, 50, both residents of Dhinora village, under Bakeware police station area of Etawah district, had been taking care of a temple of Bhayanak Nath in Kudarkot locality under Bidhuna police station in Auriyya for the last one year. They were joined by Ram Sharan, 55, a local resident of Bibipur area, recently. After completing their routine daily prayers at the temple, all three retired for the day on Tuesday night.
The sources added that on Wednesday morning, as local resident visited the temple, all three were spotted lying in a pool of blood. The police reached the spot and rushed them to the district hospital where two were declared dead upon arrival and third Ram Sharan was referred to Saifai medical institute in critical condition.
The sources claimed that all the three priests were apparently attacked by sharp-edged weapons while they were in slumber. The assailants had slit their throats besides inflicting injuries on other body parts. The killers had chopped off the tongues of all three priests.
The agitated residents were demanding a strict action by the CM in the case, without which they were not ready to cremate the bodies.