Three priests self-immolate in Karnataka

Bidar (Karnataka), April 8 (IANS) Three priests were found burnt to death early Monday in an ashram at Chouli near Bidar in the state’s northern district, police said.

“The three swamis (priests) self-immolated in the complex by jumping into a heap of firewood they had lit in the wee hours. Their bodies have been sent for post-mortem,” Bidar Deputy Superintendent of Police Vijayanath Jyothi told IANS.

Jagannath Swami 30, Pranav Swami, 16, and Veera Reddy Swami, 40, immolated themselves in the ashram, 670 km from Bangalore.

Jagannath was from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, while Pranav and Reddy were from Karnataka.

A suicide note written by one of the priests said they were “leaving the world to meet their guruji Gyaneshwar Swamji”, 58, who died Feb 28 under mysterious circumstances.

“Our guru is not here. There is no meaning in living anymore. We are voluntarily going to our god in heaven,” the suicide note said.

The incident also brought to light the mysterious disappearance of another priest Maruthi Swami, 38, from the mutt premises on March 1.

“The mutt had filed a complaint that its senior priest (Maruthi) was abducted by unidentified people who were eyeing its valuable property, including the sprawling ashram complex at Chouli,” Jyothi said.

“We have stepped up security in and around the mutt and are investigating Maruthi’s abduction as there has been no trace of him for a month,” Jyothi said.

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