Death threat to Jalespeta ashram’s chief priest Swami Jivanmuktananda Puri, accused nabbed
Mahadev Baba made threat calls to Swami Jivanmuktananda Puri for revenge
BERHAMPUR: A day after Jalespeta ashram’s chief priest Swami Jivanmuktananda Puri received death threat, Kandhamal Police swung into action and arrested one Mahadev Baba from Bissam Cuttack on Sunday. Mahadev had apparently called the chief priest over phone on Saturday and threatened to kill him apart from destroying the ashram.
Since the accused had identified himself as a Maoist, the incident triggered sharp reactions with the 2008 killing of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati still in public memory. Kandhamal SP Vinit Agrawal said, Mahadev’s threats were an act of revenge. He had stayed at the Gurukul Sanskrit Kanyashram for more than five months in 2019. During his stay there, he picked fights with other inmates and later with Jivanmuktananda. When his behaviour didn’t change, he was removed from the ashram, Agarwal added.
While leaving the ashram, Mahadev had threatened Jivanmuktananda but no attention was given to it. The accused, though, was in search of an opportunity to avenge his humiliation. At around 5.30 pm on Saturday, he called Jivanmuktananda’s number and identified himself as a Maoist. He threatened to blow up the ashram and kill him. Jivanmuktananda then lodged a complaint with Tumudibandh police seeking security. Basing on the complaint, police tightened the security in the ashram by deploying armed forces. A bomb squad was also pressed into service to check the ashram premises.
At around 9 am on Sunday, Mahadev again called Jivanmuktananda and repeated his threats. “Police launched a search for the caller and subsequently tracked him at Chatikana under Bissam Cuttack in Rayagada district. A police team reached there immediately and nabbed him,” the SP said. Mahadev is being interrogated by police and further investigation is on. On the day, a BJP team visited Jalespeta ashram to take stock of the situation.
The seven member team of State BJP unit including two MLAs, Mukesh Mahalinga and Kusum Tete visited the Ashram and demanded permanent security at the site besides comprehensive investigation into the incident. Jalespeta ashram came into prominence after Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four of his followers were brutally killed in 2008. Before his murder, Lakshmanananda had also received death threats. Swami Jivanmuktananda is the successor of Lakshmanananda.