Tension in Bihar village after a Priest Shot Dead, Eyes Gouged out, Genitals, Tongue Chopped Off
NEW DELHI, Dec 17: Tension prevailed in some parts of Gopalganj in Bihar as local people clashed with police soon after the badly mutilated body of a Shiva temple priest was recovered from a bush with bullet marks near the neck.
The 32-year old priest Manoj Kumar Sah was “missing” for the last five days or so and the local people complained that the police did nothing after his family lodged a police complaint about the missing priest reportedly abducted by some people eying for the land belonging to the temple. His mutilated body with his eyes gouged out, and tongue and genitals chopped off, was recovered in the bushes near a dairy shop on Saturday evening. The 32-year-old victim was also shot with a bullet near the neck.
Soon after his body was found, clashes erupted in the village with locals accusing police of negligence. Two policemen were injured in the clashes after villagers staged protest on the national highway and threw stones at police. A police vehicle was also set on fire.
Pranjal, Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Gopalganj, said the situation in the village was under control now and adequate police force had been called in to prevent any untoward incident. He said a probe has been launched and efforts were on to arrest the suspects.
The incident occurred in Danapur village in the Manjhagarh police station area in Gopalganj district. Manoj Kumar had been missing since Monday night. Manoj Kumar’s family had filed a missing complaint on Tuesday following which police had launched a search operation to trace him.
According to reports, the victim’s brother Ashok Kumar Sah has been a village head, and is a local BJP leader (Mandal President). Ashok said his brother went missing five days ago and that they had filed a missing persons complaint as well on December 11, however, the police did not take any concrete action despite giving assurance that they will find Manoj within hours. The victim’s family had raised suspicion that Manoj might have been abducted.
After the victim’s mutilated body was found, the infuriated villagers staged a protest accusing the police of inaction in the matter. The protestors even blocked National Highway 27. Subsequently, Sadar SDPO Pranjal arrived at the protest site and tried to pacify the agitated locals. Meanwhile, heavy police force was called in to control the situation. The police have said that an FIR has been registered in the killing of the temple priest and an investigation into the matter was underway.
Notably, the police have not made any arrests so far and the motive behind the brutal murder also remains undisclosed. However, the victim’s brother Ashok has said attempts were being made by some people to grab the temple’s land. He added that whenever any program or event was organised at the temple, the people belonging to another community raised objections. Moreover, Ashok said his brother, who had been taking care of the temple for the last five years, was quite disturbed as some land bought for the temple was grabbed by the accused who used it for farming. He added that his brother was also getting death threats for some time.
According to the CCTV footage recovered from the cameras installed in the Temple, the victim was last seen stepping out of the temple after locking the room at around 12:40 AM on December 10. Three youths, including Manoj, used to reside in the temple. Meanwhile, Gopalganj Police said a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed to investigate the matter.
The brutal murder of the Hindu priest has sparked outrage in the victim’s village as well as on social media. Taking to X, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla called Manoj’s horrific murder an “ISIS style killing” saying that “jungle raj” prevails in Bihar now.