A 44-year-old sadhu was found murdered at an ashram inside Hanuman Garhi temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday night.
Police said Ram Sahare Das was strangled with a wire and stabbed multiple times. One of his disciples is being questioned.
Raj Karan Nayyar, the superintendent of police of Ayodhya, said that while Rishabh Shukla, a cook of the deceased, was absconding, they were questioning Govind Das, the disciple.
“It appears that the incident took place late at night on Wednesday. Someone shut down all the CCTV cameras before committing the crime. The sadhu was stabbed multiple times after he was strangled with something like a wire. We have sent the body for a post-mortem and formed four police teams to identify and arrest the killer or killers,” the SP said.
“His body was found in an ashram on the Hanuman Garhi temple premises,” the officer added.
A police source quoted Govind as saying that Ram Sahare had employed Rishabh, a resident of Shahjahanpur, 15 days ago to cook for him. However, Rishabh was not at the ashram on Wednesday.
“Ram Sahare used to decorate the idols of Lord Hanuman at the Hanuman Garhi temple. He had no enemy. It could be that someone committed the crime with the aim of stealing valuables, including jewellery, from Ram Sahare's boxes. Ram Sahare owned 10 bighas in adjoining Ambedkar Nagar district and some people were mounting pressure on him to sell the land,” Govind was quoted as saying by the police.
Hanuman Garhi is considered the most revered Hindu shrine in Ayodhya after the Ram temple.
Swami Jitendranand, general secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Sant Samiti, said: “Over two dozen sadhus have been killed in Uttar Pradesh in recent years. While we appeal to sadhus to stay away from human weaknesses, the government must ensure their security.”