Murder of Temple Priest: Petition before Rajasthan High Court for Central Agency investigation

Rajasthan High Court
Bar and Bench

Synopsis: The priest, whose statement was recorded before the Rajasthan police, said six people poured petrol on his bale of bajra (millet) lying on the disputed land and set it on fire on Wednesday. They even poured petrol on him and tried to set him on fire.

A letter petition was addressed to Indrajit Mahanty, Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court, requesting a central investigation agency inquiry into an incident in which a temple priest died after he was set on fire over a land dispute.

It is claimed that the conflict arose after the attempts of the priest to stop the encroachment of temple land.

The priest, whose statement was recorded before the Rajasthan police, said six people poured petrol on his bale of bajra (millet) lying on the disputed land and set it on fire on Wednesday. They even poured petrol on him and tried to set him on fire.

A priest set on fire alive
The Logical India

He was rushed to Jaipur’s SMS Hospital, suffering burn injuries, where he died on Thursday evening.

Advocate Pawan Prakash Pathak of the Supreme Court has now addressed a letter to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Rajasthan stating that it is the primary duty of the State to provide every citizen with protection and to preserve human dignity through different facilities and conditions.

The letter petition reads that in the case of S. Ahuwalaia v. Union of India, if was held that Article 21 of the Constitution stated that the State has a duty to protect the life and liberty of an individual who should not be endangered in order to create an atmosphere where members of society belonging to different faiths, castes and creeds live together and therefore the State has a duty to protect their life, freedom, and worth of an individual who should not be endangered.

The lawyer also expresses concern about the growing number of barbaric crimes recorded and unreported, police insensitivity, unparliamentary and uncivil actions by the state police towards the victims and their families.

His petition adds that the promise of Ram Rajya is being shattered by “some insurgent individuals”.

The letter adds that our entire country witnessed our Prime Minister Shree Narendra Modi with great joy and excitement laying the foundation stone of Ram Janam Bhoomi in Ayodhya after a long time of 500 years and his promise to establish Ram Rajya, but he does not see how we can establish Ram Rajya if such activities continue because victims can eventually lose faith in this democratic structure.

Advocate Pathak urged the Court to hear the case urgently on the judicial side and to order the Central Agency to carry out a free, fair and transparent probe of the case.

The letter request also seeks guidance for the safety of the family of the victim, claiming that they are under “constant and immense threat.” It adds that the accused and any other person should be prohibited from threatening or harassing the family of the victim.