Seer, 7 others gunned down near Allahabad | india | Hindustan Times
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Seer, 7 others gunned down near Allahabad

IN A sensational shootout, a seer and seven of his followers were shot dead while five others were critically injured by jeep-borne assailants in Handia, 30 km from Allahabad, on the Varanasi-Allahabad highway on Friday evening. The cops claimed that the seer had a criminal baclground and was jailed in the murder of a senior IAS officer at Gopalganj, Bihar in 1983. He had also allegedly killed father of an Samajwadi Party MLA from Sultanpur in 1999. About 15 other cases of heinous crime were pending against him.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2006 01:35 IST

IN A sensational shootout, a seer and seven of his followers were shot dead while five others were critically injured by jeep-borne assailants in Handia, 30 km from Allahabad, on the Varanasi-Allahabad highway on Friday evening.

The cops claimed that the seer had a criminal baclground and was jailed in the murder of a senior IAS officer at Gopalganj, Bihar in 1983. He had also allegedly killed father of an Samajwadi Party MLA from Sultanpur in 1999. About 15 other cases of heinous crime were pending against him.

The shootout, which has all the potential of snowballing into a major issue, has forced police to lay more emphasis on the criminal antecedents of the killed seer, all to water down the case.

The death of the seer, meanwhile, has sparked violence with a mob going on the rampage damaging passing vehicles and fighting a pitched battle with the cops on the highway.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav while condemning the shootout ordered to hand over the investigation of the incident to the special task force (STF).

The incident took place when Swami Sadanand Sant Gyneshwar (60) along with his followers was on his way to Varanasi from allahabad in a jeep. Two jeeps intercepted the seer’s Tata Safari near Handia railway crossing around 7 pm. Before the swami and his followers could gauge the intention of the unidentified occupants of the jeep, the miscreants opened indiscriminate fire with sophisticated weapons.

The shooters left the scene after 10 minutes of firing. Shells of A-K series rifles and . 9mm pistols were recovered from the spot. The police also recovered a Tata Victa vehicle (UP 32 AR-1438) left by the assailants on the spot.

The seer’s followers travelling in other vehicles and local residents later found the bullet-ridden bodies of the seer and his followers Ganga (20), Om Prakash (55), Pooja (21), Neelam (20) and Pushpa (21) in the vehicle. Another follower Ramchandra (45) was later declared dead at a city hospital.

Five others injured included Meera, Anita, Santoshi, Meenu, who were travelling in the same vehicle, and Divya on another vehicle in the fleet. The injured were undergoing treatment at a hospital.

No sooner the local residents came to know that the deceased was a seer, they gathered at the scene and blocked the Varanasi Road.

The mob started pelting stones on the passing vehicles and even fought a pitched battle with the policemen present at the spot. It was later revealed that Swami Gyneshwar was earlier known as Sadanand Tiwari, a native of Deoria district. Tiwari, who had criminal antecedents, had later established an ashram in Barabanki several years back and started proclaiming himself as a seer.