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Bihar: Angry over bhajans being played in a Shiv Mandir on the second Monday of Shravan, four youths brutally lynch the temple priest to death

The Hindu devotees agreed to turn down the volume, but the youths insisted that they cease playing it altogether, to which the devotees did not agree.

On Monday, July 17, while Hindus across the country were celebrating the second Monday of the auspicious Shravan (Sawan) month, a 70-year-old priest of a Shiv Mandir in Bihar’s Vaishali district was brutally lynched to death by unknown miscreants. He was reportedly beaten to death by four boys who took offence to the bhajans which were being played in the Shiv Mandir to celebrate the holy day. The priest was identified as Shiv Narayan Giri.

According to reports, Shiv Narayan Giri lived on the temple premises in Astpur Satpura village under Bhagwanpur police station in the district. On Monday, a group of devotees reached the temple to offer Jal (water) to the Shivling. They started playing bhajans on the loudspeaker to celebrate the second Monday of Shravan or Savan Maas (month). Mondays are dedicated to Bhagwan Shiv, and thus Mondays falling in the month of Shravan are often seen as the holiest days, especially by Shiv devotees.

Some youths in the neighbourhood took offence and demanded that the Hindu devotees turn off the music. The Hindu devotees agreed to turn down the volume, but the youths insisted that they cease playing it altogether, to which the devotees did not agree. This led to an altercation between the accused and the devotees.

At this point, suddenly four youths started assaulting Vikas Kumar, the nephew of Shiv Narayan Giri. Seeing this, the priest rushed to rescue his nephew but the miscreants in turn started brutally beating up the 70-year-old temple priest.

The miscreants kept assaulting the priest until he collapsed and fell to the ground and died on the spot. Seeing this, the miscreants fled the scene.

When the information reached the police, they rushed to the spot. The body of the deceased protest was sent to the Hajipur Sadar Hospital for post-mortem. The police registered a case and started probing the matter.

Meanwhile, Vikas Kumar, the nephew of the deceased priest told the media, “On the second Monday of the Sawan month, a large number of devotees had assembled at the temple to offer water (Jal) on the Shivling. Among them, some devotees started playing Bhajans in the temple. Some people from the village came and demanded that the music be stopped. I told them that we would lower the volume but they did not agree and insisted that the music should be stopped, When I objected, they beat me,” said Vikas Kumar, the nephew of Shiv Narayan Giri.

“As they were assaulting me, my uncle rushed to rescue me. The miscreants beat him up as well and he collapsed on the road. We placed him on the bed and called a doctor who declared him dead. We knew the accused and identified them,” Kumar said.

An eyewitness Raushan Kumar also said that four people punched the priest in his stomach following which he collapsed. “The body has been taken to Sadar Hospital Hajipur for post-mortem,” Raushan said. 

Update:

Initial media reports of the incident quoted the priest’s nephew saying the priest was killed by a group in an argument for playing bhajans. However, the Vaishali Police has denied it. In a statement, the Vaishali Police stated that the incident was not related to playing bhajans. Some local men used to sit and talk on the temple premises regularly. On the evening of 17th July, they started fighting among themselves for some reason. The temple priest came to intervene and pacify them. However, during the fight, the priest got hurt by the fighting men. He got hit in the chest and head and could not recover. The police have added that the priest was a heart patient and was under treatment in Patna.

One person named Sujit Kumar has been arrested in the case.

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