Ladies accuse priest of assault, storm temple

GREATER NOIDA: A video purportedly showing a being beaten up by a group of has blown the lid off a case of sexual allegedly involving another self-proclaimed godman who has been conducting rituals at a temple in a village for the past 15 years.

The villagers of Dhoom Manikpur alleged that the main priest of the local Shiva temple, Kanhaiya Lal Giri (45), had pursued a widow to live with him in the temple compound ever since her husband was found hanging from a tree four years ago. The woman’s sister-in-law said the priest would sexually harass her relative for years and had also asked her to live with him in the temple after her husband passed away a few years ago.

The outrage — seen in the video shot on April 8 — followed a meeting by the village elders in which the women decided to raid the temple. Giri and the woman with whom he had been staying in the temple compound managed to escape. The women caught hold of one of Giri’s accomplices and beat him up. They also vandalised the temple compound and damaged an SUV parked outside.

Sources said no one had appointed Giri the priest at the temple, but he came all by himself and started conducting rituals 15 years ago. Gradually, he began managing the affairs of the temple in the absence of a committee and got a few accomplices to help him.

The woman’s sister-in-law said she had approached Giri several times in the past and objected to keeping her relative with him. But the self-styled godman and his accomplices allegedly threatened to kill her if she tried to intervene.

“A temple is a sacred place. He would often touch women devotees inappropriately but few would reveal that. The situation had become unbearable, because of which the women raided the temple,” a villager said.

Another villager, Pawan Rawal, said Giri had also hired a few musclemen to avoid any protests on the temple premises.

Mukesh Kumar, the SHO of Badalpur police station, said: “The baba has fled along with the woman. We are yet to register any case in this regard.”

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