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A priest killed his tribal wife who was half his age in the name of sacrifice in Bagulamukhi temple in Kurara village of Dindori district.
The incident occurred on Saturday night when Satyanand, 50, tied his wife Manju Shyam, 24, with a rope and killed her ostensibly to seek the blessings of Goddess Bagulamukhi.
The victim Manju Shyam is from the family of famous tribal painter Jangarh Singh Shyam who lives in Patan village under Dindori police station.
The incident came to light on Sunday evening when the victim’s father Jai Jodhan Singh got a call from the suspect. The real identity of the priest is yet to be ascertained as he was living in the name of Satyanand in the temple.
“We have launched a hunt for the accused. The exact reason for the killing is yet to be investigated,” said SP Dindori Ram Ashray Chaubey.
The residents of nearby villages claimed the priest came to the village about four years ago and started living in the temple without disclosing his real identity.
Mayank Singh Shyam, son of Jangarh Singh Shyam, who lives in Bhopal, while talking to Hindustan Times on the phone said, “We are shocked by the incident. This is height of brutality.
An innocent girl of my family was killed. We demand immediate arrest of the killer.” Residents said the priest also looted the jewellery of the temple and Manju’s ornaments after beheading her.
The weapon is yet to be traced. The SP, however, denied any loot. Ram Krishna Dhruve, a local artist, said the priest then went to the victim’s parents and urged them to get their daughter married to him. Since the family was financially weak, both were married about three months ago.
“Later, after protests from other family members, when Jai Jodhan, the father of the girl, went to temple to bring her back, she refused to go with him. The priest always used to lock her in a room of the temple,” said Dhruve. On Saturday night, a mass feast was organised by the priest and after that he tied the victim to a log and beheaded her.
“He then took all the jewellery and fled. On getting the information, the victim’s father reached the temple and found her beheaded body,” said Dhruve.