Other States

Rajasthan priest death | Ashok Gehlot government announces aid for kin

Protesters sit in a dharna on October 10, 2020 after the death of a priest in Rajasthan’s Karauli.   | Photo Credit: ANI

The family members of Babu Lal Vaishnav, a 55-year-old temple priest, who was set on fire in Bukna village of Rajasthan's Karauli district, performed his last rites on October 10 after the State government announced an ex-gratia assistance of ₹10 lakh to the next of kin. The priest’s son, Deshraj, conducted the last rites in the presence of a large police force.

The priest was attacked on October 7 by five persons, who allegedly poured petrol on him and set him ablaze over a land dispute. The priest’s family has alleged that the accused wanted to encroach on land belong to the temple and were erecting a shed, leading to the dispute.

The State government also agreed to give a job on contract to a family member and release an assistance of ₹1.50 lakh for the construction of a house under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. The Station House Officer of Sapotra police station and the patwari (revenue officer) of the village will be transferred and the allegation of their laxity in the incident probed, officials said.

Vaishnav’s family, who had received his body from Jaipur’s Sawai Man Singh Hospital on October 9 after his death, had earlier refused to perform the last rites until their demands were met. Giving a political twist to the issue, BJP MP Kirodi Lal Meena joined the demonstration at Bukna and the party's three-member fact-finding team reached the village on October 10.

After the arrest of the main accused, Kailash Meena, the police also detained another accused and were searching for other suspects named in the murder case registered on the basis of the priest’s dying declaration.

Karauli Additional Collector Sudarshan Singh Tomar said the police force was deployed in Sapotra region amid tensions and full security was being provided to the Vaishnav’s family. The priest was farming on 15 bigha (6 acres) land, belonging to the Radha Krishna Temple Trust, while the accused had allegedly been trying to encroach on the land.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has condemned the priest's murder and demanded immediate arrest and punishment of all accused.

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 8:22:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rajasthan-priest-cremated-after-govt-offers-aid/article32823008.ece

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