Burglars kill three priests in Karnataka temple, flee with cash

South India

It is suspected that all three were killed in their sleep as there were no clues of any kind of resistance. 

In a shocking incident, three priests of a temple on the outskirts of Mandya in Karnataka were found brutally killed in their sleep during a robbery bid on Friday, September 11.

The bodies of the priests, identified as Ganesh, Prakash and Anand, were found in a pool of blood with their heads crushed with boulders. The bodies were spotted by the villagers after they found the temple door open. The incident took place during the wee hours of Friday.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has ordered an inquiry into the incident. He has also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the kin of the deceased. He said that immediate legal action will be taken against the perpetrators found guilty of the incident.

According to Times of India, the three deceased were cousins and served as temple priests. They used to sleep on the premises for security of the temple and its property. The temples come under the Muzrai department and this temple at Guttalu was rated as ‘B’ Group temple.

Police is suspecting that robbery could be the motive behind these murders as the three hundis were moved outside the temple premises and the offerings, mainly cash, was looted. As the news broke out Friday morning, it was rumoured that all three deceased were working as priests in the temple.

Several localites told the police and media gathered at the spot that the deceased were priests. The police have identified the deceased as people associated with the temple, namely Anand (42), Ganesh (55) and Prakash (60).

“While Anand is the son of the temple priest, Ganesh and Prakash were working as security guards at the temple,” Mandya Superintendent of Police R Parashuram was quoted by Indian Express as saying.

The robbers emptied kanike hundis (money collection boxes). They were found outside the temple. The killers had managed to escape with the cash in the three hundi boxes leaving behind only coins of various denominations, which are found spilled near hundis.

Police said that before escaping, the miscreants also ransacked the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in search of more valuables and cash.

Mandya police is taking help of sniffer dogs to track the culprits and forensic experts have started collecting the evidences from the crime scene. Mandya SP Parashuram said that special teams will be formed to trace the culprits. A case has been registered in Mandya East police station.

The police have pressed into action five teams to nab the culprits and an investigation is underway based on a case filed at Mandya East police station. “With the evidence collected from the crime scene, we can confirm the incident as murder. Prima facie, the motive behind the crime seems to be robbery as we found only a few coins left in the money collection boxes (hundis),” Parashuram said.

Meanwhile, Mandya Lok Sabha MP Sumalatha and police officers visited the spot during the day apart from people from the surroundings visiting the area once the incident came to light. Among visitors were priests of other temples who urged the authorities to take stringent action against the perpetrators.

Image Credit: The Times of India

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