The Uttar Pradesh Police on Saturday arrested seven people including the head priest of Ramjanki temple in Gonda district in connection with the attack on another priest. The priest, Samrat Das, of Ram Janaki temple in Gonda was shot on the intervening night of October 10 and October 11.
According to the police, Mahant Sitaramdas, the mastermind of the plan and six others have been arrested in the case for attempted murder. The accused have been sent to judicial custody. Police claimed that Mahant Sitaramdas of the temple, the village head and the injured priest Atul Tripathi had themselves hatched a conspiracy to carry out the attack.
In the primary investigation, the police had said that the priest was shot at over a land dispute between the former village head Amar Singh and Mahant Sitaramdas. Later, the police revealed that it was a conspiracy. Sitaramandas had also filed a case against four people and two of them were arrested next day. Samrat Das is under treatment in King George’s Medical College Hospital in Lucknow.
In a joint press conference, District Magistrate Nitin Bansal and Superintendent of Police Shailesh Kumar Pandey said Das was injured when he was shot at the night of October 10 in Shri Ram Janki Temple in the village.
Five teams were formed to solve the case and on the basis of electronic evidences, statements of witnesses and other inputs, the seven accused were arrested on Friday. The police search is on for other accused who are still absconding. The police recovered three country-made revolvers, seven live cartridges, one empty cartridge and a mobile phone from the four accused.
The incident resulted in immense criticism of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh which is already been under the scanner over the law and order situation due to the Hathras case. The opposition and the Saints from Ayodhya have also sought action against the culprits.