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UP: Temple priest shot at in Gonda; admitted to hospital

Samarth Das is undergoing treatment at the trauma centre of King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow
By HT Correspondent | Edited by Joydeep Sen Gupta | Hindustan Times, Lucknow
UPDATED ON OCT 11, 2020 05:34 PM IST

Samarth Das (35), a priest of Ram Janki temple in eastern Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) Gonda district, was shot at by armed assailants while he was sleeping in an open verandah on the temple premises on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, said police.

The attack was allegedly due to a land dispute with a local muscleman, Amar Singh, the police said.

Das is undergoing treatment at the trauma centre of King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow. His condition is stated to be critical, the police added.

Gonda superintendent of police (SP) Shailesh Kumar Pandey said a first information report (FIR) under sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) had been registered against four persons at Etiathok police station and two suspects had been taken into custody. He said further raids were in progress in a bid to arrest the other two suspects.

Also read: BJP leader Satish Poonia slams Rajasthan police after priest’s death

Baba Sitaram Das, the head priest of the temple, has alleged that Singh was behind the attacks on him in the past and the recent attack on Das.

He said the goons had shot at Das while he was sleeping at around 2.30 am and beat a hasty retreat. The incident occurred, when two home guards were deployed for his security at the temple’s entrance.

He said he was also attacked by the goons last year and a police investigation was still in progress.

Initially, two constables were deployed for his security but the security detail was removed under Singh’s influence.

Singh is alleged to be involved in grabbing over 150 bighas of land that belongs to the temple trust, which the priests have been opposing.

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