LUCKNOW: A handwritten letter, threatening to blow up famous Sankat Mochan temple of Lord Hanuman in PM Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi, was received by its chief priest and caretaker Prof Vishambhar Nath Mishra late on Monday night.
The priest handed over the letter to local police authorities on Tuesday. An FIR is lodged and a probe has been launched jointly by the crime branch and Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of UP police to find the roots of the letter.
However, the sender of the letter has allegedly claimed that the blast at the temple this time would be bigger than 2006.
According to Prof Mishra, he received the letter in an envelope during his routine visit to the temple late on Monday night.
“The senders of the letter has claimed that 2006 blast was also executed by them and that this time it will be bigger than 2006,” said Prof Mishra.
On the basis of the complaint of Prof Mishra, a named FIR has been lodged against two persons -- Jamadar Miya and Ashok Yadav—at the Lanka police station. The two have been mentioned in the letter as senders who have cautioned Prof Mishra against taking the letter lightly.
Varanasi SSP Anand Kulkarni confirmed the lodging of the case and ensuing inquiry into the issue. In the meantime, Prof Mishra duly informed Union home ministry, intelligence bureau, ADG Varanasi zone about the threat.
"The letter had some names and a mobile number. Prima facie it appears someone may have done it to create trouble for the person named in the letter due to personal enmity. This temple is an important place of worship in Varanasi and we have tightened security in the area," said SSP Kulkarni on Wednesday.
As per the police sources, the SSP called a high-level meeting of the senior cops of the district and entrusted the crime branch with the investigation into the matter in coordination with Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of UP police.
“The probe by crime branch has already taken off,” said a senior police officer. The police administration is doubly cautious as the letter has been received just a day ahead of December 6 which happens to be the 26th anniversary of Ayodhya demolition, added the police official.
In fact, Sankta Mochan temple, Cantt Railway Station and Dashashwamedh Ghat of Varanasi were rocked by a series of blasts on March 7, 2006, killing 28 persons and leaving around 100 injured. Even in 2010, another attempt was made by the terror elements to conduct a blast on temple premises but it was averted by the police administration in time.
An unknown outfit Lashkar-e-Kahar (also known as Lashkar-e-Qahab) had claimed responsibility for the 2006 Varanasi attacks and warned of similar attacks in other cities.