Mahant Narendra Giri, one of the country’s most influential Hindu seers, was discovered hanging from a fan in his chamber in Prayagraj’s Baghambari Math on Monday evening by his followers. According to the police, Giri committed suicide.
Prior to his death, the seer learned how to make a video, which he credits to Anand Giri and Aadya Tiwari. According to ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar, Anand Giri was held in Haridwar on Monday night, after a complaint was filed against him for abetting the suicide. On Tuesday, Aadya Tiwari, the head priest of the Hanuman temple, was also detained. Giri allegedly wrote a suicide note in which he blamed disciples Anand Giri and Aadya Tiwari, with whom he had been involved in a property dispute until recently, according to the police. However, it was reported that the feud was eventually settled and that Anand Giri apologised for the incident.
In the suicide note discovered, Mahant Narendra Giri apparently wrote, “My mind is troubled because of Anand Giri.” The letter says, “I was going to take my own life on September 13, 2021, but could not gather the courage. Today, I received information that Anand Giri would in a day or two make a photograph of mine with a woman viral using a computer.”
Mahant Narendra Giri was the head of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, which led to his considerable influence. The Parishad is an umbrella organisation for the country’s 13 recognised Hindu monastic orders known as akharas. Akhara means “wrestling arena” in literal terms, but in this context, they are boarding schools for ascetics. The word refers to the seers’ identification as aggressive defenders of Hinduism. The Nirmohi Akhara, one of the institutions associated with the Parishad, was one of the key players in the Ayodhya Ram temple dispute. Narendra Giri belongs to the Niranjani Akhara, which worships the god Kartikeya through its seers. He was born and raised in Haridwar. It is believed that Giri joined the Niranjani Akhara, the second largest order of the 13, during the mid-1980s and was initiated sometime afterwards. Giri had headed Allahabad’s Baghambari Math since 2004 and served as the chief priest in its Bada Hanuman temple.
After his autopsy, Mahant Narendra Giri’s body was taken to the Baghambari Math. His body was brought to Prayagraj for a procession. The funeral procession headed to the Hanuman temple to bathe the body of the deceased. The body of the seer was returned to the Baghambari Math, where a spot had been designated for the seer’s samadhi. His body was buried in a ‘bhoo-samadhi‘, in a sitting position, which indicates that he is meditating. An important meeting of the Akhara Parishad will take place following the period of ‘shosthi’ (16 days after the seer’s death). The next president of the body will be elected at the meeting.
According to the police, Mahant Narendra Giri’s disciple, Anand Giri was questioned for 12 hours by the police about the former’s death. Aadya Tiwari of the Hanuman temple and his son Sandeep Tiwari were also questioned. Sources said that Anand Giri kept claiming that Mahant Narendra Giri could not have died by suicide, and that there was a conspiracy to frame the seer. Following this, the joint secretary of the Allahabad High Court bar association says that some officials may have been involved in the case based on the statements given by the main accused – Anand Giri. Moreover, an inquiry was requested by the secretary, Abhishek Shukla, in a letter sent to the court. The UP government has also recommended a CBI probe.
According to India Today, the police are investigating where Mahant Giri’s security personnel were at the time of his death. They had been deployed by the government for his protection. It has been suggested that one of the key reasons for the incident is negligence by security personnel. In a statement, Anand Giri spoke against gunner Ajay Singh, whose involvement is now being investigated. Anand Giri was brought to the district magistrate court, where he has denied allegations of blackmailing Narendra Giri.
Both Anand Giri and Aadya Tiwari were sent to 14 days of judicial custody. Anand Giri’s Ganga Vikram Sena Ashram, which was under construction, has also been sealed by the Haridwar-Roorkee Development Authority. Earlier in May, a building was sealed over illegal construction.
As part of the investigation, the police has found sulphas (Aluminium phosphide) tablets that had been provided to Narendra Giri by one of his disciples. The police reported that a disciple had also provided the seer with the rope used in his suicide.
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The autopsy of Mahant Narendra Giri was conducted by a team of five doctors, who confirmed the cause of death to be hanging. His post-mortem was videotaped and his viscera were preserved. According to a recent revelation, Niranjani Akhara chief, Ravindra Puri told Aaj Tak and India Today TV that the Mahant suffered head injuries, which were not revealed in the initial autopsy report. According to him, the suicide letter was not written by the seer. A preliminary post-mortem report states that Mahant Narendra Giri died between 3 pm and 3:30 pm, and that he did not appear to have any injuries, and a ‘V’ mark was found on his neck. In accordance with official sources, the initial post-mortem report has confirmed Narendra Giri’s death was caused by asphyxiation due to hanging. The suicide angle has been confirmed in the initial report.