Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh Police arrested a 25-year-old man Tuesday morning for his alleged involvement in the murder of two sadhus at a temple in Bulandshahr district Monday night.
Sadhu Jagan Das (55) and Seva Das (35) were killed at a Shiva temple in Pagona village. The blood-soaked bodies were discovered by the villagers Tuesday morning.
The accused, identified as Raju alias Murari, is a resident of the same village, the police said.
Bulandshahr Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Santosh Kumar Singh told ThePrint the accused has confessed to the crime.
The SSP said the accused killed the sadhus as they had rebuked him for stealing a pair of tongs from the temple.
“Two days ago, he had stolen tongs belonging to these sadhus due to which they had severely scolded him. Prima facie, it appears to be the primary motive behind the murders,” he said.
Singh said the accused committed the crime under the influence of bhang (cannabis). The villagers also said he is addicted to bhang, he added.
The accused is in police custody and his medical examination is being conducted, said the SSP.
He said a wooden rod used in the crime has been recovered from the temple premises.
The accused confessed that he killed the sadhus using the rod, Singh added.
Raju has been booked for intentional murder under Section 302 of the IPC.
The incident comes over a week after the Palghar incident in which two Hindu tribal ascetics and their driver were lynched in the presence of police.
Accused was intoxicated during arrest: Police
Police said the two sadhus had been living in the temple at Pagona for the last 10 years. Many villagers would often visit them. The accused also used to visit them.
“Two days before the murder, the sadhus had scolded and chased him away after accusing him of stealing tongs from the temple. He was extremely angry and upset about this,” said the SSP.
The police said the accused was completely under the influence of bhang at the time of his arrest.
“He was arrested from another village, nearly 2 km away (from Pagona village) in a semi-nude condition,” the senior officer added.
No ‘communal angle’
SSP Singh said they revealed the name of the accused so that no one on social media could give it a “communal angle”.
“This is a case of murder arising out of mutual conflict. Police will take strict action in this case,” he added.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut appealed to the people to not communalise the incident.
“Scary! The killing of two sadhus at a temple in Bulandshahr, UP. But I appeal to everyone not to make it communal — the way some people tried to do in the Palghar case.”
Former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav also posted a tweet, saying there is a need to look deeply into the root cause of such a criminal mindset.
State BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said comparing the incident with Palghar lynching is inappropriate.
“The brutal murder of the sadhus in Palghar had taken place in the presence of police. Palghar is a conspiracy, which must be unearthed,” he said.