'An Irreparable Loss for the Spiritual World': Who Was Mahant Narendra Giri?
The 72-year-old saint was the head of Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad.
Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj
Mahant Narendra Giri, leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad (ABAP), was found dead at his residence in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj on Monday, 20 September.
According to the police, a seven-page suicide note was discovered from the site of death, in which, the religious leader held his disciple Anand Giri, as well as two others, responsible for his death.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and former CM Akhilesh Yadav condoled the Mahant's death, with Yogi Adityanath terming his demise as 'an irreparable loss for the spiritual world'.
An Influential Hindu Leader
The 72-year-old saint was the head of Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad (ABAP), the country's largest organised body of Hindu seers and ascetics.
It was in 2014, when Giri was first elected as the chief of ABAP. During his tenure, the Parishad released a list of allegedly “fake saints”, The Indian Express reported.
In 2019, the religious leader was re-elected as the head of the highest decision-making body of the 13 recognised Hindu monastic groups in the country.
A year after the Supreme Court pronounced its verdict in the Ayodhya Babari Masjid case, Giri chaired a meeting of the Akhada Parishad in 2020, and passed a resolution saying they would launch a campaign in tandem with the Ayodhya-Ram Janmabhoomi movement to 'free the Hindu temples' in Varanasi and Mathura.
Reacting to his alleged suicide on Tuesday, 21 September, Shiv Sena leader and Chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut claimed, "Someone has strangulated Hindutva in Uttar Pradesh."
The Clash With Anand Giri
Ever since May 2021, the chief was involved in a skirmish with his protege and aid, Anand Giri, who was accused of harassment, fraud, misappropriation of temple funds, and being in touch with his family – a violation of traditions of the Akhada.
Anand Giri, too, had accused the aged sadhu of financial irregularities.
According to reports, the clash had resulted in Narendra Giri expelling Anand Giri from the Niranjani Akhara and the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad.
However, consequently, Anand Giri apologised to the Hindu chief and denied any misunderstanding between him and Giri, The Indian Express reported.
After Giri's demise on Monday, 20 September, an FIR has been lodged against the Sadhu's disciple at Georgetown police station in Prayagraj.
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