On 10 August, unidentified assailants entered the premises of the Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh and tried to kill Hindu priest Swami Nareshanand Saraswati.
According to OpIndia, the assilants scaled the wall of the temple and entered the premises at 3:30 AM. They found Swami Nareshanand Saraswati asleep. The accused stabbed him in the stomach and neck with a sharp weapon, leading to profuse bleeding and blood loss. The Hindu priest was rushed to the Yashoda Hospital on receiving information about the attack. His condition is now said to be critical.
Speaking about the incident, Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati’s acquaintance Anil Yadav said that Swami Nareshanand Saraswati had come to Dasna from Samastipur in Bihar on 7 August. The Hindu priest, a disciple of Mahant Yati Narasimhanand Saraswati, stayed at the Dasna Devi temple. It has now come to light that the Mahant was sleeping in the room, adjacent to that of Swami Nareshanand Saraswati, and that he was on the hit list of the assailants.
Mahant Yati Narasimhanand Saraswati had received several death threats in the recent past, following which the police was tasked to ensure his and the temple’s safety and security. Although a team of Pradeshik Armed Constabulary (PAC) was stationed outside the temple, they were informed about the matter only after 20 minutes of the incident. They are supposed to protect the temple and and check the incoming devotees for any possible threat.
Anil Yadav said that the attack on Swami Nareshanand Saraswati highlighted the negligence of the PAC guards, who are in-charge of the temple security. Following the attack, a complaint was lodged at the Masuri police station. SP (Dehat) Iraj Raja took cognisance of the matter and initiated a probe in the case. He informed that the police are now analysing the CCTV footage installed within the temple premises. However, the cameras were found to be switched off.
In its defence, police claimed that the victim was sleeping outside and not in his room, which made him vulnerable to the near-fatal attack. The SP said that they are investigating whether the culrpits were outsiders or lived in the adjoining areas. The cops have initiated a probe in the case and has assured to nab the culprits at the earliest.
Earlier in May, Delhi Police had uncovered an assassination plot against Dasna Devi Temple head priest Yati Narsighanand Saraswati with the arrest of a 24-year-old Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorist from Delhi’s Paharganj area. Besides one .30 bore pistol along with two magazine and 15 live rounds, the police recovered a Bhagwa kurta, a Kalava, a Mala and a Chandan-tika from the terrorist.
The suspect, identified as Mohamed Dar alias Jehangir, who hailed from Pulwama, was allegedly paid Rs 41,000 to bump off the head priest of the Dasna Devi Temple. He was picked up from Hotel Shiva in Paharganj about 10 days ago, but the arrest was kept under wraps. During the interrogation, Dar reportedly told the police that one Abid from Pakistan recruited him to work for the Jaish-e-Muhammad terror outfit. He said he worked as a carpenter near his hometown where he met Abid in December 2020. Abid told him he was from the JeM and the duo met again in April 2021.
“They continuously chatted with each other on Whatsapp. In February, Dar came to Delhi with his sister and her father-in-law for the treatment of his nephew, who had heart disease. Once he returned to Kashmir, Abid entrusted him with the task of assassinating Dasna Devi Temple head priest Yati Narsighanand Saraswati,” a police officer privy to the details of the interrogation said.