Lucknow, June 19 (IANS) A priest and his wife were killed by unidentified attackers on Monday in Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar, the police said. The priest, who took care of the Mathur Kuti math, and his wife were found dead on their cots by devotees.

The police suspect the killings were either directly executed by his brother or some local criminals were given a contract for it. The priest, who managed the math near the Thori crossing, had earlier told the devotees that his brother was blinded by greed over a family property and that he feared physical harm.

He had also gone to the police but apparently they ignored his pleas. An attempt had been made on the priest's life earlier too, locals said.

Laxity on part of the police cost the couple their lives, a local told senior district police officials.