When they dropped her home, the priest and his disciples claimed that the woman got injured after falling into a well.
Trigger warning: Article contains graphic details that may be distressing to some.
When a 50-year-old woman went to a temple, the very same one she frequently visited in the past, to say her prayers on Sunday night, January 3, she returned with injuries to her private parts and her clothes were in disarray.
The mother of five was brought back home a little while before midnight by a priest and two of his aides, who claimed that the woman was injured after falling into a well that was located on the temple premises. "They said she fell into the dry well... She was bleeding profusely and soon she died," a family member told The Hindu, as quoted by The Sun.
It was also reported that a video showing the priest shouting "she fell into the well" was also circulated, according to locals in the area.
Within a short span of time after the priest and his aides brought the mother home, her family members saw her bleed profusely. "Our front room was soaked in mother’s blood," the woman's eldest daughter told The Print. "This is monstrous, barbaric."
Before the family had a chance to properly take in the situation, the priest and his aides had left, leaving the bleeding woman to die in her house in Uttar Pradesh, northern India. Although the husband requested the priest to help them take her to the hospital, they reportedly refused to do so and quickly escaped. According to Indian Express, the woman later died in the hospital.
The woman's son-in-law said, as reported by The Print, "The priest and the other two… said she fell into a well. She was alive then but soon succumbed to her injuries. When brought in, she was bleeding from her private parts. She was soaked in blood. Before we could react, the three drove away in the car."
The woman's son said that the priest and his aides didn't even wait for them to open the door properly before starting to leave.
"Her legs were broken and, from her condition, we could sense that there has been gang rape but police delayed action in the matter," added the son-in-law.
The priest and the two men were soon accused of raping the woman inside the temple and leaving her with grave injuries. "The post-mortem report shows minor injuries in private parts. There were tears and she has a fracture on one of her legs. There was also excessive bleeding which led to shock and eventually the patient's death. Prima facie we found evidence of rape," said Dr Yashpal Singh, Chief Medical Officer, as reported by The Quint.
The two disciples of the priest were soon arrested by the police but the priest himself, the prime suspect in the case named Satyanarayan, was initially on the run.
A few days after the 50-year-old woman succumbed to the injuries of the heinous sexual assault, the police found the priest hiding in the house of one of his followers and took him into custody.
Hoping to get justice for their mother, the woman's daughter told The Print, "We want the three accused be given death penalty. Our mother was a working woman, used to feed us..."
The woman's devastated mother told The Quint, "I would have rather died in her place."