Bihar Gopalganj murder case shared with false communal colour, the deceased is not a temple priest.

Claim

Bihar now has Jungle Raj not Nitish Raj. ISIS style killing of Pujari in Gopalganj. Shot dead, eyes gouged out, private parts damaged. Who is safe in Bihar? Neither Sadhus. Neither cops and nor is the common man

X Link / Archive Link 

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Explanation

A viral video was posted by a BJP National spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla on X handle claiming that a Hindu priest was killed in ISIS style. “The priest was shot dead and his eyes gouged out and private parts were chopped off”, the post stated further.

Many media outlets reported similar claims such as India Today, New 18, NDTV, New24, Organiser, Zee Bihar Jharkhand, Bharat Express, Asianet, The Free Press Journal, ABP Bihar and OpIndia.

The same viral post was also shared by BJP representatives and supporters which can be seen here, here, here, here, here and here.

What is the truth?

We ran a keyword search and found a statement from Superintendent Police on Gopalganj Police’s X handle on 17, December 2023 regarding deceased Manoj Kumar Shah.  SP clarified that he is not a priest, but a caretaker of the temple and that he used to take rest at night in the temple.

He further stated, “On 10, December 2023 night he slept in the temple. We got the information of his missing and when we checked the CCTV footage we found that he locked the gate and gone outside. We found his dead body on 16, December 2023 morning. It might be a murder case and we are searching all the angles behind this death, it might be a matter of Temple’s land dispute. We are searching all the links behind this. Our SIT (Special Investigation Team) also formed under SDPO (Sub- Sub-Divisional Police Office) guidance and other Police teams are also investigating this case.”

According to a Press release by the Gopalganj Police, the murder was planned by the deceased’s ex-girlfriend and her family. The deceased was blackmailing his ex-girlfriend saying that he would make her obscene video viral.

Press Release by Gopalganj Police Office on 18, December 2023

The accused are identified as Neha Kumari(ex-girlfriend), Sunita Devi, and Amit Kumar. The recovered items from the house of the accused are blood stained salwar suit, long scarf, coconut rope, Knife and broken mobile phone of the deceased with Jio SIM and two mobile phones.

Accused names are mentioned in the Press release  

Press Release Link

Full case statement was also presented by Gopalganj Police on 18, December 2023.

The victim’s brother is a local BJP leader and the issue is given a communal angle by BJP supporters. However, according to the Gopalganj Police press release, there is no communal angle found. The deceased was killed by his ex-girlfriend and family because he was continuously blackmailing her based on obscene video. The same is also reported by The Indian Express and ETV Bharat.

Conclusion

It was found that Manoj Kumar Shah was not a priest, and he was murdered by his ex-girlfriend and family as he threatened her with an obscene video. No communal angle is found in this incident.

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