Top seer Narendra Giri found dead in Prayagraj, disciple detained
PRAYAGRAJ President of the Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad and Mahant of Bade Hanuman temple of Prayagraj Narendra Giri was found dead inside his room at Baghambari Gaddi Math on Monday, police said.
Giri was found hanging from a ceiling fan by a rope, officials said. SP (City) Dinesh Kumar Singh said a police team reached Baghambari Gaddi Math in the evening on receiving the information and found Giri hanging; forensic field units are carrying out an investigation and people in the Math were being questioned in this connection.
A purported suicide note was found from the room and it named his disciple, Anand Giri, and two others as responsible for the extreme step, police said.
“Based on the suicide note, we detained Anand Giri in Haridwar with help of Uttarakhand police. Anand Giri is being brought to UP for further questioning,” said Prashant Kumar, ADG (law and order), UP.
Senior police officials including IG Prayagraj Range KP Singh and SSP Sarvshrestha Tripathi also reached the spot. Inspector General of Police KP Singh said police received a call from the Ashram at around 5.25pm informing them that Giri was found hanging in his room at the guest house of Baghambari Gaddi Math. Prima facie, it appeared that Giri committed suicide by hanging himself. His disciples at the math informed that the room was bolted from inside, said IG (Prayagraj range).
“The eight-page suicide note mentions that Mahant Narendra Giri took the extreme step as he was not happy with some of his disciples. The suicide note also mentions his will about the ashram. The suicide note also mentions names of many disciples. Giri in the note said he wanted to live with dignity but was unhappy due to some reasons . His disciples have confirmed that the handwriting was of Mahant Narendra Giri but anything concrete could be said only after proper investigations,” the IG said.
A heavy crowd of devotees assembled outside Baghambari Gaddi Math as news of his death spread in Prayagraj.
PM Narendra Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath condoled the death. The PM expressed sorrow on his death and hailed him for playing a vital role in uniting saints of different streams while remaining true to spiritual traditions. Adityanath termed the death a huge loss to the spiritual world and prayed that God give strength to his disciples and followers to bear the loss.
Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had met the 62-year-old Giri on Sunday. “I am unable to believe that Mahant Narendra Giri could have committed suicide. I am shocked, pained and at a loss of words. I knew him since childhood and he was always very brave. I had sought his blessings on the morning of September 19. He was very normal then…,” Maurya said in a tweet in Hindi.
Meanwhile, AAP MP Sanjay Singh in a tweet expressed pain at the death of Giri under suspicious circumstances and demanded a CBI inquiry, claiming that neither the common man nor saints were safe under the present government.
Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma while expressing sadness over the death said the state government would get the death investigated.
Giri hailed from the trans-Ganga area of Prayagraj. He belonged to Shri Panchayati Akhara Niranjani, one of the ancient monastic orders of the country and of which he was the serving secretary as well.
Giri was elected president of the all-powerful Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, the apex decision-making body of the 13 recognised Hindu monastic orders of the country in 2014 for five years. He was re-elected to the post at a meeting of the Akhara Parishad held in Haridwar in October 2019.
In May 2021, Giri had a fallout with his disciple and noted yoga guru and the then “Chote Mahant” of Bade Hanuman temple Swami Anand Giri, following which Anand Giri was expelled from Baghambari Math and Niranjani Akhara. Anand Giri had been accused of continuing to have connections with his family in violation of the set norms of conduct for sanyasis. He was also accused of financial irregularities associated with the temple fund, a fact that was confirmed at the time by secretary of the Akhara, Mahant Swami Ravindra Puri.
The action against Anand Giri had followed a complaint against him in this regard by Narendra Giri. However, within a few days, Anand Giri had formally sought forgiveness from Narendra Giri and the Panch Parmeshwar of the Shri Panchayati Akhara Niranjani. Narendra Giri had then forgiven him and lifted the ban on Anand Giri from entering Bade Hanuman temple and the Baghambari Math that had been imposed on him at the time of expulsion.
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