Two priests were found murdered at a temple in Bulandshahr district on Tuesday morning, allegedly killed by a local youth.
Jagdish, 55, and Sher Singh, 45, were apparently hit with a lathi at Paguana village's Shiva temple in Anupshahr police station area, police said. The alleged killer was arrested.
Opposition leaders targeted the Bharatiya Janata Party over the crime, with the Congress and the Shiv Sena referring to Uttar Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's reaction after the lynching of two sadhus and their driver in Maharashtra's Palghar recently.
According to Uttar Pradesh Police, Murari, also known as Raju, was accused by the sadhus two days ago of stealing a pair of tongs used by them.
The youth, allegedly under the influence of cannabis, was caught near the temple soon after the two were found dead in the temple.
Senior officers rushed to the spot and questioned the man, who told them that after taking 'bhang' on Monday night he went to the temple and killed the sadhus with a lathi lying there.
According to one official, the intoxicated youth said he carried out 'God's will', denying he had any quarrel with the priests.
The senior official said the youth will be interrogated at length later as he was still under the influence of the drug.
Villagers caught the youth when he was spotted roaming naked about two kiolmetres from the scene of the crime, police said.
Some reports said he was carrying a sword and initially police said the two priests were hacked to death.
SEE: SSP Bulandshahr reacts to killings of sadhus
Yogi Adityanath directed strict action in the case and sought a detailed report from officials.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke to Adityanath, expressing concern over the killing.
Days earlier, Adityanath had made a similar phone call to him over the lynching of two sadhus and their driver in Palghar.
"Uddhav ji said when such incidents happen, we should refrain from indulging in politics and unitedly work to punish the culprits," Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said.
In his own tweet, Raut called the Bulandshahr incident 'terrible' and said it should not be turned communal 'the way they tried to make Palghar'.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said there should be through probe into the killing of the sadhus in Bulandshahr and nobody should politicise such incidents.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also reminded the Bharatiya Janata Party about Palghar.
"The BJP was trying to give a political twist to the killing of two priests in Palghar. We demand that there should be no politics on the killing of priests in Bulandshahr," he said.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav called the Bulandshahr murders 'extremely condemnable and tragic'.
'Instead of politicising such murders, there is a need to look into the criminal motive or the root cause of such violent mentality,' he tweeted.