A priest in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh, about 117 km from the state capital Lucknow, is believed to be in critical condition after being shot dead by strangers last night, allegedly over a land dispute .
Samrat Das, who serves at the Ram Janki temple in the neighborhood, was shot dead in the temple premises late at night, officials said. The priest, who was reportedly critical, was referred to a hospital in Lucknow.
The Ram Janki Temple, which is about 25 kilometers from the town of Gonda, has about 100 bighas of land along the banks of the Manorama River, which is very expensive.
According to reports, some local land mafias attempted to seize prime land, after which several cases were filed in the local court.
“A temple priest in a village of Itia Thok, Gonda was shot dead last night. He was admitted to hospital. A case has been registered against four people. He had a land dispute with the accused. . We are investigating the case. Shailesh Kumar Pandey, police superintendent of Gonda, was quoted by the ANI news agency.
This is the second reported case of an attack on a priest on temple grounds.
On Thursday, a priest in Rajasthan died of burns after being attacked by a group of men over a land dispute. The Rajasthani priest was not cremated until Saturday after his family relented and allowed the final rites to be performed.
Police also detained two people in connection with the crime and three others were named in the first information report.