BUTWAL, May 1: Three robbers have decamped with two brass idols from a temple in Nawalparasi district after killing the priest .
Baldeb Das Chaudhari, 78, who oversaw Ram-Janaki Temple in Triveni Susta VDC, was poisoned on Monday.The priest´s wife Janaki Das, 65, who also drank juice laced with poison, is undergoing treatment at Lumbini Zonal Hospital.
According to Janaki, three unidentified people, all in their twenties, had asked for shelter for the night at the temple on Sunday. As they would welcome any shelter-seeking strangers, Baldeb and Janaki allowed the three to spend Sunday night at the temple.
Janaki was ready to prepare dinner for the three unexpected guests. But, they asked her not to cook dinner for them.
They took out packets of puffed rice and noodles and a bottle of juice from their bag. They shared their juice with Baldeb and Janaki. The priest first refused the offer but drank after the three insisted.
"I also drank the juice after my husband," Janaki said. "I do not remember what happened after that. When I woke up, I was on a hospital bed."
Unconscious Baldeb and Janaki were first spotted by one Ramana Gautam at the temple on Monday morning. When Raman went to a temple she noticed an eerie silence and found the two lying on the floor. She called the villagers who took them to Prithvi Chandra Hospital. While Baldeb died there, Janaki was referred to the zonal hospital.
Baldeb had been living in the temple for the last 40 years. About 15 years ago, Janaki also started living there with her husband.
The three robbers had bought packets of noodle and puffed rice from a shop owned by Dharmendra Bhattarai. "They did not buy juice from my shop. They must have brought it from elsewhere," he said. According to Bhattarai, the three were speaking in Bhojpuri. "The priest never wanted to harm any one. But he was not spared," he said.
Police have recovered Rs 17,985 from the temple. According to inspector Dambar Tamang, police are searching for the three suspects on the basis of descriptions given by Bhattarai.