M A I N   N E W S

Main accused in Ayodhya case killed
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, February 18
Sadhu Ramnarayan Das (65), an active member of the Ayodhya movement, who had complained of a threat to his life from a section of the BJP leadership was found battered to death yesterday.

The priest who lived in the Tulsi Bari area of the temple town was reportedly assaulted by at least 12 assailants who rained blows on him with lathis and rifle butts till he collapsed, bleeding. He later died in hospital.

While officially Home Secretary Alok Sinha maintained that property dispute appeared to be the motive for the murder. However, he did not ruled out investigation of antecedents and connection with the Ayodhya case.

Preliminary investigations by the police revealed that Ram Narayan was having a running battle with a mahant of Ram Ballabh Kunj in Ayodhya over a piece of land valued at Rs 51 lakh.

One of the named accused in the main FIR lodged in the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, Ram Narayan was reportedly upset with the top BJP leadership after the Ayodhya demolition case was split.

While the trial of eight senior leaders was delinked from that of ordinary kar sevaks ó paving the way for Advaniís acquittal, Ram Narayan and others had alleged that the demolition plot was hatched at the behest of the BJP leaders and hence the case involving them should not be dealt with separately.

Once he had dared to make a public statement outside the court charging the top leaders of being a threat to his life as he was vocal about their letting them down.

He was one of the four assistant priests of the makeshift temple running inside the Babri Masjid. It was Ram Narayan who had reportedly removed the Ram Lalla idols from inside the masjid minutes before the demolition had started that fateful morning. A case is pending against him and three others. The idols had mysteriously appeared inside the masjid on the night of 23-24 December 1949.

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