Jagannath Temple Mismanagement Reaches Flashpoint : Deities Languishing In Hunger

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Puri:With indiscipline and man-made mismanagement in 12th century Jagannath temple rearing its ugly head yet again, followers of Jagannath cult and millions of devotees are left deeply dejected.

The puja rituals stand halted. The deities are languishing in hunger as priests have stopped offering bhog to Lord Jagannath, lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. With entry points to the revered temple locked up, it’s test of endurance for thousands of devotees who are left to wait for hours since wee hours to catch glimpse of Lord.

There are reports of devotees breaking the barricaded gates to gain entry into the temple.   

It may be recalled here that servitors stayed away from performing puja in protest against alleged manhandling of a servitor by a police constable yesterday. The servitors are demanding the immediate arrest of the constable on the charge of manhandling a servitor Bhabani Shankar Mahapatra.

Tension has mounted up in and around the temple premises prompting the authorities to beef up security.

“We are waiting for amicable settlement of the matter. Dialogue is continuing with the protesting servitors. We are hopeful for early end to the standoff”, said Puri Superintendent of Police, Sarthak Sadangi.

It may be recalled here that the Supreme Court on June 8 had passed a slew of directions to prevent exploitation of devotees by staff at the Jagannath temple of Puri and had directed the state government to study the management schemes of other important shrines. The Supreme Court had passed the order while adjudicating over a civil writ petition alleging mismanagement and harassment to devotees at the Puri Jagannath temple.

The temple mismanagement has reached flashpoint. The servitors have no right to stop deities’ rituals. It has deeply hurt the religious sentiments of millions of devotees. The government agencies are in deep slumber as temple mismanagement has again brought disrepute to Odisha, said a researcher Rajat Kar.  

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