A rift over the construction of a Ganesh temple ended in a double murder in Karnataka’s Tumakuru district Thursday night, the police said, adding that two people have been arrested in connection with the crime.
Officers identified the deceased as Shilpa, 38, and her relative Ramanjinappa, 45, residents of Midigeshi village in Tumakuru. Another person, Mallikarjunaiah, has sustained serious injuries in the attack and is undergoing treatment at a government hospital, the police stated. His condition is said to be critical.
Tumakuru SP Rahul Kumar Shahapurwad, who visited the village, said, “The incident took place over a land dispute and we have already arrested two people. A probe is underway and the law-and-order situation is under control.” While the prime accused Sridhar Gupta was arrested on Friday, one more person was held on Saturday. Two others are on the run, officers said.
According to investigators, the issue began two years ago when a group of villagers, including Shilpa and Ramanjinappa, proposed to build a temple on a vacant plot belonging to the grama panchayat. Gupta and a few others, however, opposed the move stating that the land belonged to his family. Soon, a civil case was filed.
A fortnight ago, the court announced its verdict in the case and said that the site belonged to the grama panchayat. The police said this intensified the rift between the two sides and on Thursday night, Gupta and his associates attacked Shilpa and Ramanjinappa while they were walking to her house. The gang stabbed the duo and Mallikarjunaiah, who rushed to their rescue, also got injured, officers said.
A case was registered the same day at Midigeshi police station. On Saturday, relatives of the victims, as well as villagers, staged a protest in front of the station demanding that the other two accused also be arrested. The protesting villagers said that while the victims were Congress supporters, Gupta and his associates were active in the Janata Dal (Secular) party.