Bidar: Upset over the mysterious death of their seer, three pontiffs allegedly committed suicide by self-immolation inside a mutt complex in northern Karnataka today, police said. The priests of Chouli Mutt — Jagannath Swami (21), Sharanayya Swami (18) and V Reddy Swami (50) — allegedly set fire to a place where firewood was stored in the mutt complex and jumped into the fire, they said. Police said the trio had left a suicide note, which was being probed.
Fire brigade and police personnel recovered the charred bodies from the spot. Police said the trio had left a suicide note, which was being probed. Chouli Mutt seer Ganeshananda Swami had died under mysterious circumstances in February, they said, adding that his three juniors were reportedly upset about it. The mutt, which attracts followers from the Lingayat community, has been dogged by controversies over property related issues. (PTI)
NEWS IN DETAIL:
Three junior seers of the Ganeshwar Avadhhot Mutt in Chowli village were found dead with their bodies charred beyond recognition on Monday morning.
The bodies have been extricated by police. The dead have been identified as Errareddy Swami (50) from Manur village of Aurad taluk, who lived at the Mutt for 15 years, Jagannath Swami (32) from Nagura in Andhra Pradesh and Pranav Swami (16), a resident of Chowli village.
A hand-written statement, believed to be a suicide note, was found. It stated that former head pontiff Sri Ganeshwar Swamiji had expressed a desire to undertake such an extreme step along with his disciples. He was apparently disturbed over certain developments that bring a bad name to the institution.
He had also managed to store a large quantity of firewood on the Mutt premises. “After his death, we three decided to honour the vow to follow instructions of our Guru who attained salvation. We are acting on our own, nobody should be held responsible for our acts,’’ the note stated.
According to police sources, five disciples were staying at the Mutt after the demise of Ganeshwar Swamy in February. On Sunday night, the three deceased were resting inside the Mutt while two others, Mahadev Swami and Subhash Swami, were sleeping in an under-construction building outside the Mutt premises. There was a police picket at the Mutt.
Around 5 am on Monday, Mahadev noticed thick smoke emanating from the Mutt and raised an alarm. Two constables immediately rushed to the spot. However, the huge heap of firewood was already up in flames by then. The police later recovered the bodies and shifted them to Government General Hospital. A case of unnatural death report was registered at Janwada police station.
The Mutt hit the headlines when self-styled godman and head pontiff Ganeshwar Avadhhota Swamy died under mysterious circumstances on February 28. In another instance, junior priest Maruti Swami was brutally assaulted on December 31 last year and kidnapped on January 31. The police are yet to make a headway into his disappearance.
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Home Minister R Ashoka had visited Chowli and promised detailed investigation into the incidents. Police sources revealed that no progress was made in either of the cases.