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Queue normality restored in Puri

Violence had erupted when local residents joined devotees and Jagannath Sena members to protest against the queue system introduced by the Jagannath Temple Administration for darshan

By Subhashish Mohanty in Bhubaneshwar

  • Published 5.10.18, 11:43 AM
  • Updated 5.10.18, 11:45 AM
Devotees queue up outside the Jagannath temple on Thursday
Devotees queue up outside the Jagannath temple on Thursday Picture by Sarat Kumar Patra

Normality returned to Puri with devotees having a glimpse of the deities at the Jagannath temple on Thursday without any hassles.

No untoward incident was reported from any part of the town.

On Wednesday, violence erupted in the town with local residents joining servitors and Jagannath Sena members to protest against the queue system introduced by the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration for darshan at the temple. The police on Thursday evening arrested 11 persons in connection with Wednesday’s violence.

The police on Thursday allowed local people to use any of the four gates of the shrine for entry. They, however, checked the identity of those entering the shrine through any of the four gates except the main gate at the Singha Dwar.

A local resident shows his identity card to get inside the shrine in Puri on Thursday
A local resident shows his identity card to get inside the shrine in Puri on Thursday Picture by Sarat Kumar Patra

Director-general of police R.P. Sharma on Thursday visited Puri and inspected the law and order situation there. He warned action to be initiated against those indulging in violence and damaging government properties.

Sharma said: “We are examining CCTV footage and video clippings of Wednesday’s incidents. We will identify those involved in the violence, and action will be taken against them. Inspector general of police Soumendra Priyadarshi is monitoring the situation.”

Making it clear that violence had no place in a democratic set-up, he said the bandh should not have turned violent and government properties should not have been destroyed as the police had acted with maximum restraint against the protesters.

The temple’s chief administrator P.K. Mohapatra said: “The administration had been asked to exercise absolute restraint. The collector and the police superintendent were also at the receiving end of stone pelting by the protesting mob.”

Terming the incidents as unfortunate, he said: “Whatever happened on Wednesday was sad. It was beyond our expectation. It has brought bad name to the people and servitors of Puri.”


Director general of police RP Sharma with senior police officers at the temple gate on Thursday
Director general of police RP Sharma with senior police officers at the temple gate on Thursday Picture by Sarat Kumar Patra

He said: “We are examining the CCTV footage and will shortly submit a report to the amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium. Two FIRs have been filed, one by the temple office and another by the temple information centre.”

He said: “We are trying to make the darshan hassle free as there is a direction from the Supreme Court to take all possible steps in this regard in the larger interest of devotees. The queue system has been approved in the managing committee. It was also discussed in the Chhatisha Nijog meeting. All servitors are aware of this. Even I had darshan of the deities on October 1 (the first day implementation of the system) in a queue. There was no problem.”

In another development, local MLA and revenue minister Maheswar Mohanty alleged that the people, who indulged in hooliganism and destroyed the flower pots at his house in Puri on Wednesday, were from the BJP. “But, they will not succeed in their heinous design,” he said.

In a related development, the Jagannath Sena members on Thursday offered earthen lamps praying for peace in the town. However, sena chief Priyadarshan Patnaik demanded action against the police personnel, who beat up innocent people.

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