A temple priest died after he was set on fire by five persons over a land dispute in Rajasthan’s Karauli district, police said on Friday. Kailash Meena, the main accused in the case, was arrested while a search is underway for the remaining persons, officials added.
Condemning the act, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted: “The death of Babu Lal Vaishnav is unfortunate and condemnable. We do not have place for such acts here. The state government stands by the family of the deceased. The main accused has been arrested and a case is underway. The accused won’t be spared.”
In a press statement, Karauli police said that the priest, Babu Lal Vaishnav, had earlier complained to the cops that Meena and his family were trying to grab the 15 bigha land which belongs to Radha Gopal temple in Bukna village. Vaishnav and his family were engaged as priests here and would also till the land concerned, the release added.
“According to the complainant, on Wednesday morning, Vaishnav had an argument with Meena and his associates over some construction that the latter was carrying out near a hill. Later, the accused allegedly set the 60-year-old on fire,” Prakash Chand, Additional Superintendent of Police, Karauli
He added that the priest was shifted to SMS hospital in Jaipur where he succumbed to injuries on Thursday.
“Preliminary investigation suggests that the land where the dispute took place belongs to the goovernment. A case has been registered five persons, including Meena,” Chand said.
Karauli superintendent of police Mridul Kachawa said efforts are underway to nab the remaining accused.
“Vaishnav succumbed to injuries at the SMS hospital in Jaipur. On the basis of his statement before his death, a case under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered. The main accused in the case has also been arrested,” he said.
The opposition BJP slammed the Congress government over the incident and the increasing number of crimes in Rajasthan.
Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje tweeted: “The way the crime graph is increasing in the state, it is clear from it that women, kids, elderly, Dalit, traders, nobody is safe here. The Congress government in the state should wake up from its deep sleep and give those guilty strong punishment and provide swift justice to the family.”
Speaking to reporters, state BJP president Satish Poonia said: “This case of a temple priest burnt alive proves that the law and order system in the state has collapsed and the criminals have no fear of the law. Rajasthan Police’s punchline seems to have now changed to ‘Apradhi Mast, Janta Trast’ under Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.