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Hanumangarhi temple chief priest loses security cover after argument with district magistrate, SSP

Ayodhya District Magistrate Nitish Kumar, however, said the mahant's security cover was removed on Friday following complaints that he was misusing it to threaten people, particularly traders.
Last Updated : 23 June 2024, 10:06 IST

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Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh: Police personnel deployed for the security of Hanumangarhi temple's chief priest Raju Das were recently removed after an argument between him and district officials during a meeting here called by two Uttar Pradesh ministers.

Ayodhya District Magistrate Nitish Kumar, however, said the mahant's security cover was removed on Friday following complaints that he was misusing it to threaten people, particularly traders.

The meeting was called by Uttar Pradesh ministers Jai Veer Singh and Surya Pratap Shahi on Thursday evening to review the BJP's performance in the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat, which it lost in the polls, and Das and Ayodhya Mayor Girish Pati Tripathi were also present there.

District officials, including the magistrate and Senior Superintendent of Police Raj Karan Nayyar, were called later to the meeting to "give some inputs on development work", a BJP source said. Party sources said the argument broke between Das and the officials after he blamed them for the loss of the BJP in the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat -- made up of five assembly segments with Ayodhya being one of these. Three armed police personnel were part of Das' security cover and it was withdrawn with immediate effect on Friday, officials said.

On the removal of his security cover, Das told PTI on Sunday, "It was done because I called the district administration's officials thieves and corrupt which they are. This is why my security was withdrawn." District Magistrate Kumar said, "Raju Das has many criminal cases registered against him and we were receiving complaints that he misused the security to threaten the public and the traders. This is gross misuse so the security was withdrawn." Following the BJP's loss in Faizabad to Samajwadi Party's Awdhesh Prasad, Das had made several controversial statements, including calling the people of Ayodhya" traitors of Lord Ram" and that "all administrative and police officers, including district magistrates and district police chiefs, are corrupt and thieves and don't do any work without taking bribe".

Das also met the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on Saturday.

When asked about his meeting with the chief minister, Das said, "We discussed several issues regarding Ayodhya and I communicated to him what I have been saying that government officials in Ayodhya are corrupt and they don't do any work without taking a bribe." Das claimed that he did not discuss the issue of his security with the chief minister.

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Published 23 June 2024, 10:06 IST

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