Darbhanga priest gunned down inside Kankali temple; public lynch 1 suspect
DARBHANGA: Four armed men shot dead Darbhanga’s Kankali temple priest, Rajiv Kumar Jha, early on Thursday morning, police said. Three of them were caught by local people and thrashed. One of them died later, people aware of the matter said.
One person, Shambhu Choudhary, who sustained injuries when he tried to intervene, was in the initial shooting, has been admitted to a local hospital and is said to be out of danger.
According to people who were out on a morning walk, the four suspects drove down to the temple located in the Darbhanga Raj Fort complex, popularly known as Ram Bagh campus, in a blue car, and walked right in.
It was 4am, and the priest was inside. Rajiv Kumar Jha spent the night at the temple because the puja for the Navratra festivities had continued well past midnight.
Witnesses outside heard multiple gunshots. Rajiv Kumar Jha, the priest said to be in his late forties, was their target, a police officer said.
Passers-by and devotees reacted immediately and caught hold of three of them; the fourth escaped.
The young man who died in the mob lynching was identified by the police as Pulkit Singh, son of a clerk at the LN Mithila University. The other two are being treated at Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital.
Darbhanga senior superintendent of police Babu Ram said a special team has been set up to carry out the probe and track down the fourth man involved in the shooting. “The assailants were not career criminals, contract killers or involved in robberies,” he said.
The SSP said the shooting appeared to be linked to an altercation on Wednesday night.
Two of the four suspects were sitting by the pond near the temple. “Due to some reason, the two had an altercation with the priest, his family and some others.”
The two left the complex but were back six hours later with two more accomplices when they allegedly gunned down the priest.
A pistol and six spent cartridges have been seized from the spot.
“Instructions have been given to conduct raids at places where anti-social elements gather in the evening”, the SSP added.
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