'Religious Leader' staged attack on himself to incite conflict, arrested

KATHMANDU: 'Religious Leader' Sriniwas Acharya, who was earlier shot at on April 8, has been held by the police on Monday. Acharya has been accused of issuing instructions to shoot himself.

A special police team who have been investigating into the case for almost a month arrested Acharya from Kathmandu, where he recently reached after receiving 21-days-long treatment at the Biratnagar based Neuro-Cardio and Multispeciality Hospital. Acharya was looking to flee to India after his allies' recent arrest.

Madhav Chaudhary and Lakshmi Raj Adhikari ‘Santosh’ were arrested on Thursday in connection with the case. Adhikari had apparently supplied the pistol and the bullets to Chaudhary which he then used to shoot Sriniwas Acharya, shockingly, following Acharaya's instructions.

Lakshmi Raj Acharya provided Madhav Chaudhary with the crime weapon following Acharya's request.

According to Chief at the Morang District Police Office, SP Arun Kumar BC, Acharya was brought to Morang from Gaushala in Kathmandu. The prime accused Chaudhary and Adhikari, who have admitted to shooting Acharya, during an interrogation session pointed toward Acharya as the mastermind of the shooting. "We have begun interrogation with Sriniwas Acharya regarding the same," informed the Superintendent of Police.

Police said Acharya had hoped to soar to fame and incite people into religious conflict.

The attackers were asked to shoot him in the arms, supposedly 'in the name of country and religion' by Acharya. However, the shooter, Madav Chaudhary, took a bad aim and the bullet hit Acharya on his right chest. Two shots were fired in the incident where one bullet had hit a wall in the vicinity.

"Acharya had been taken into custody on the basis of Chaudhary and Adhikari's statement. We will consult with our legal experts regarding further legal proceedings into the case," SP BC said.

Religious organisations, leaders had condemned the incident calling it 'an attack on Hinduism'.

The religious leader referred to as the Baal Santa (Child Sage), when the incident happened, was in Biratnagar where he went to attend the Shreemad Bhagvad Mahapuran scheduled for the same day.

The state government had earlier announced that the government would take care of all the expenses related to the religious leader's treatment.