Priest beheads man at a temple in Cuttack district

Bhubaneswar: A 70-year-old priest has been arrested in Odisha for allegedly beheading a man, believing that the killing will end the coronavirus pandemic.

The 55-year-old was beheaded in the premises of the temple on Wednesday night, the police said.

Police officials said that Sansari Ojha is a priest at Goddess Brahmani temple in Bandhahuda area of Narasinhapur block in Cuttack. Ojha claimed he was ordered to carry out the beheading the goddess in order to bring an end to the pandemic, the police said.

On Wednesday night, when the victim Saroj Kumar Pradhan visited the temple and was bowing before the goddess, Ojha came up from behind and rained blows on Pradhan’s neck with a scythe.

Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Athagarh, Alok Ranjan Ray, said that the accused priest later surrendered to the police and confessed to committing the murder.

“During interrogation he admitted to the murder claiming it was ordered by the goddess,” said the SDPO. The police, however, said that the priest had a long-standing dispute with the deceased over a mango orchard on the outskirts of the village.

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