Bengaluru: Three priests were found brutally murdered in the courtyard of Sri Arakeshwara Temple in Karnataka’s Mandya district on Friday, police said.
This incident took place in Guttalu village in Mandya, which is 100 km from Bengaluru city.
The police said that the heads of the priests had been crushed by stones. The assailants had broken open all three ‘Hundis’ — a cash offering box used by devotees to donate money — and fled with all the currency notes leaving behind the coins.
The police has identified the three priests as Ganesh, Prakash and Anand.
According to the police, the bodies were first spotted by the villagers, who became suspicious after finding the temple doors half-open very early in the morning. “This group of villagers entered the premises and saw the bodies of the priests in a pool of blood and stones scattered around,” the police added.
The police added that these priests used to sleep in the temple premises to guard the deity as well as to protect the Hundis.
This temple comes under the Muzarai department (department of Religious and Charitable Endowments) and is in the “B” category for its collections.
The police suspect that the assailants could be more than three people and their motive appears to be looting the cash and valuables.
The Mandya Police was taking the help of sniffer dogs to track the assailants.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa has announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh to each of the deceased’s family and said that the state government will soon arrest the assailants.