Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief after Mahant Narendra Giri, the chief of Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the apex body of 14 akharas, was found dead in Prayagraj. PM Modi in a tweet wrote, "The demise of president of Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad, Mahant Narendra Giri is extremely saddening."
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too has offered condolences on Narendra Giri Maharaj's death. Yogi Adityanath said, The death of Mahant Narendra Giri Ji, President of Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, is an irreparable loss to the spiritual world. Pray to Lord Shri Ram to give peace to the departed soul and give strength to the bereaved followers to bear this grief.”
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party(SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav has also offered condolences on Narendra Giri Maharaj's demise.
Akhilesh Yadav said, “All India Akhara Parishad President Pujya Narendra Giri Ji passed away, it is an irreparable loss. May God grant the virtuous soul peace and strength to his followers to bear this sorrow.”
Giri's body was found hanging from a rope inside a room in the Baghambari Mutt in Daraganj area. Senior police officers rushed to the spot and took custody of the body, which will be sent for post-mortem.
The police said that prima facie, it appears to be a case of suicide but further probe would reveal the exact cause of Giri's death.
The media has been barred from entering the Mutt, which is presently under heavy security cover. Hundreds of disciples of Giri have reached the Mutt, but they have been prevented from going inside. The disciples refused to believe that the saint had ended his life and insisted that there was some foul play.
Giri was involved in a bitter property dispute with his junior Anand Giri a few months ago. The matter was later resolved.
Sources said that a five-page suicide note has also been recovered in which Giri has held one of his disciples responsible for his death. The police, however, refused to confirm this.
Giri had replaced Mahant Gyan Das as the chief of the Akhara Parishad in March 2016. While the electoral process replacing Gyan Das was conducted a year ago in 2015, the controversial Mahant had refused to cede ground to Giri.
Das was allegedly facing charges of criminal activities and objectionable behaviour and had about half-a-dozen criminal cases pertaining to attempt to murder, loot, dacoity and economic offences registered against him in Ayodhya and Allahabad, mostly by the sadhus of the Akhara Parishad.