Lucknow: Prominent Hindu seer Mahant Narendra Giri was found dead Monday at Prayagraj’s Baghambari Gaddi Mutt, in a suspected case of death by suicide. His body was found hanging inside his room on the premises. A purported suicide note left behind suggested he was under mental trauma, police said.
Giri was the chief of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, one of the country’s largest groups of Hindu seers.
UP Police Inspector General for Prayagraj range K.P. Singh said the police were informed about the incident at around 5.20 pm. “When we reached the site, his body was found hanging in the room. A suicide note has been found, where he wrote about the mental trauma he was going through over the past few months,” Singh said.
The IG added that Mahant Giri had mentioned some disciples who had “hurt him”, including Anand Giri, described by police sources as the seer’s closest disciple before a fallout.
“He has also mentioned the vasiyat nama (will) in the suicide note. Police are investigating the matter and we will take action according to the evidence we collect. A forensic probe will be conducted to verify the authenticity of the note,” Singh said.
However, in a statement released after Giri’s death, Anand Giri denied any responsibility and alleged a conspiracy to create a rift between him and his “guru” over the past few years. “I have no role in his suicide. Those who succeeded in separating us are behind his death,” he said.
Speaking to ThePrint, police sources said Anand Giri was sacked from the Baghambari Mutt and the akhara this year for allegedly being in constant touch with his family, which is against the traditions of being a sanyasi.
The sources claimed Anand Giri had also accused Narendra Giri of land fraud, among other things, but apologised later. Narendra Giri, the sources said, was annoyed by Anand Giri’s activities over the past few months.
UP Additional Director General of Police (law & order) Prashant Kumar told ThePrint that the “suicide note clearly indicates the kind of mental harassment he was facing due to activities of Anand Giri and other disciples”.
“This controversy also erupted a few months ago when Anand Giri was sacked from the Baghambari Mutt (in May) but the matter wasn’t resolved. We are investigating the issue, action will be taken soon,” the DGP said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those who condoled Giri’s death, describing him as a unifying force in the world of seers.
अखाड़ा परिषद के अध्यक्ष श्री नरेंद्र गिरि जी का देहावसान अत्यंत दुखद है। आध्यात्मिक परंपराओं के प्रति समर्पित रहते हुए उन्होंने संत समाज की अनेक धाराओं को एक साथ जोड़ने में बड़ी भूमिका निभाई। प्रभु उन्हें अपने श्री चरणों में स्थान दें। ॐ शांति!!
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 20, 2021
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said Narendra Giri’s death is “an irreparable loss to the spiritual world”.
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav also called his demise an “irreparable loss”, while Aam Aadmi Party’s UP in-charge Sanjay Singh demanded a CBI probe in the matter.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)
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