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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Delhi: 1 stabbed in Dasna Devi temple, head priest Narsinghanand claims he was target

The temple had been in news when a poster barring entry of Muslims came up in March 2021, and when a 14-year-old Muslim boy was thrashed by devotees for entering the premises to have water in March 2021.

Written by Abhinav Rajput | New Delhi |
Updated: August 11, 2021 7:50:39 am
Outside Dasna temple in Ghaziabad. (Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

A priest from Bihar, Swami Nareshanand, who was staying at the Dasna Devi Temple in Ghaziabad and had attended Sunday’s protest march held at Jantar Mantar, was allegedly stabbed in his sleep on Monday night.

The temple had been in news when a poster barring entry of Muslims came up in March 2021, and when a 14-year-old Muslim boy was thrashed by devotees for entering the premises to have water in March 2021. The head priest, Yati Narsinghanand, also has an FIR lodged against him for promoting enmity for allegedly using disparaging words against the Prophet at an event in Delhi held in April 2021.

Police said Nareshanand was asleep on the temple premises when an unknown accused stabbed him with a sharp object. Police were alerted by temple staff.

“He is receiving treatment and is out of danger. We are gathering evidence and teams have been formed to investigate,” said Dr Iraj Raja, SP Rural Ghaziabad.

Narsinghanand claimed he was the intended target: “Who will harbour enmity against him (Nareshanand)? He had come to participate in the Jantar Mantar protest. Jihadis have enmity with me and they had come to kill me but unfortunately he was attacked.”

The temple is spread over 6 acres.

“We are in the process of identifying the accused. It is possible that the accused were aware of the layout of the temple and knew at which points they could get past the security. There are many rooms on the premises where people usually sleep. At any given point there are approximately 25 security personnel stationed at several points,” said Raja.

CCTV cameras installed by temple authorities were found to be non functional, said police.

On Tuesday, when The Indian Express visited the temple, the contentious signboard was still around: “This temple is a pious place for Hindus. Entry of Muslims is banned.”

At the gate, six to seven security guards frisked everyone before allowing entry. Inside, a small path separated Narsinghanand’s living area and a waiting hall, which has seven beds.

Outside the waiting hall, there was a bed with bloodstains — it was here that the man was stabbed.

Manoj Kumar Singh, who had come from Prayagraj to participate in the Jantar Mantar event and was sleeping in the same room as Nareshanand, said, “I did not get to know when he was attacked as I was sleeping; it was when they tried to stab me that I woke up. But their blade broke. By the time I gathered my senses they had escaped.”

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