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Shivam Mangalmoorthy | HENB | New Delhi | Aug 10, 2021:: An unknown assailant, suspected as Jihadist element, allegedly attacked a Hindu priest sleeping on the premises of Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad early on Tuesday, police said. The victim was admitted to a private hospital where doctors described his condition to be stable.
Chief Priest of Dasna devi Mata Mandir, Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati claimed he was the intended target: “Who will harbour enmity against him (Nareshanand)? He had come to participate in the Jantar Mantar protest. Jihadis have enmity with me and they had come to kill me but unfortunately he (Nareshananda) was attacked.”
Hailing from Bihar, he is said to be a disciple of Swami Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, the controversial chief priest of the temple. “Swami Nareshanand was attacked by an unknown person using a paper cutter in the early hours of Tuesday. The visitor was sleeping in the open area inside the premises. We have recovered two paper cutters from the spot. Doctors have operated upon him. As he lost profuse blood because of injury, it was serious but his condition now is stable.” said Iraj Raja, Superintendent of Police (rural).
“We are investigating the case by using manual and electronic surveillance. The temple administration has been asked to lodge a complaint and an FIR will be registered soon,” added Mr. Raja.
He said a picket of Provincial Armed Constabulary guards the temple and senior officials were looking into possible lapses.
Police sources said the picket was informed 20 minutes after the incident and the CCTV cameras were found shut very mysteriously.
Narsinghanand Saraswati has been in news since March this year when a Muslim boy was allegedly roughed up on the temple premises when he purportedly went inside with a pretence of drinking water.
Narsinghanand Saraswati has been making hard statements against Muslims and the nuisance of Islam and its prophet and has claimed he could be attacked by Islamists for his views. Recently, the National Commission of Women had written to the Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police demanding an FIR to be registered against Narsinghanand Saraswati for his offensive remarks against women in a video that went viral. In that video Narsinghanand criticized a section of Hindu women who are indulgent to fall in ‘Love Jihad’.
Anil Yadav, Narsinghanand Saraswati’s disciple and spokesperson of the Dasna temple, alleged it was the work of ‘Islamic Jihadis’ and the real target was the chief priest. “They have failed in the past and last night they tried again,” he said.
Describing the condition of Mr. Nareshanand as critical, Mr. Yadav said the incident happened because of security lapse. “We have complained in the past that the guards on duty were found sleeping at night.”
Local sources said the incident could be linked to the ‘provocative statements’ made at Jantar Mantar on Sunday and Delhi Police might visit Dasna Temple. Two of the four accused in the case are from Ghaziabad and are said to be close to Narsinghanand Saraswati. Mr. Yadav denied that Mr. Nareshanand was present during the Jantar Mantar event. Delhi Police has also failed to place any evidence of provocation from the “Unite India Movement” programme at Jantar Mantar on Sunday as organised by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyaya so far. Superintendent of Police (rural), Mr. Raja refused to comment on the possible link and said Delhi Police had not approached them so far in the present attack.
“We are in the process of identifying the accused. It is possible that the accused were aware of the layout of the temple and knew at which points they could get past the security. There are many rooms on the premises where people usually sleep. At any given point there are approximately 25 security personnel stationed at several points,” said Raja.
__Inputs from The Hindu & Indian Express.