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Puri Servitor-Police Clash: Rituals Of Deities Delayed, SJTA Chief Leaves Decision On Servitors After Talks Failed

28 December 2018


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Puri: After an ugly clash between a servitor of the Puri Srimandir and the cops on Thursday night, rituals of the Holy Trinity have been delayed today morning and devotees have complained that the main temple’s doors have still not been opened for darshan.

Despite conducting talks of normalization thrice, the servitors are adamant and now everything depends on the conscience and decision of servitors, said SJTA chief administrator Pradipta Mohapatra.

Puri Collector Jyoti Prakash Das also said, “An FIR and a counter-FIR has been filed by both the parties. But, talks between servitors and Puri administration to resolve the issue could not reach any consensus. Today, Mangal Arati and Nitikanti have not been performed yet. Delay in rituals and displeasure of devotees is not sending good message about the place.”

On Thursday night, in an ugly turn of events at the Jagannath Temple, a senior servitor Bhabani Mohapatra got involved in a scuffle with police personnel deployed at the Singhadwar.

The incident took place after three devotees from West Bengal were asked by the police to produce identity cards for entry into the temple. As the devotees were not carrying any identity card, they gave the reference of Mohapatra as their ancestral priest.

In the meanwhile, Mohapatra showed up at the spot and requested the police to allow the devotees to enter the temple. However, the police assuming that a couple of them were foreigners, insisted them to prove their identity.

The matter turned worse and a fight ensued between Mohaptra and the cops. The servitor sustained a blow on his face and was injured, following which the issue has snowballed into a major controversy today as Mohapatra is the 'Bhitaracha Sevayat', who has the keys and is authorised to first open the doors of the inner sanctum sanctorum and start the daily rituals.

Also Read: Watch: Fist-Off Between Servitor And Police At Puri Jagannath Temple Over Devotees' Entry

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Jyoti Prakash Das, Collector, Puri