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Odisha’s Sri Mandir servitors see red over award cut

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Puri: The Daitapati servitors of Lord Jagannath temple in Odisha’s pilgrim town here today warned of an eventuality seemingly drawing to any extent after the award cut over the Hati Vesha fiasco.

“The decision to cut the Rs 25,000 award is a completely wrong decision. The outcome of this decision can lead to an eventuality of any extent for which they will be themselves in trouble. Therefore, I request the Chief Administrator to immediately withdraw this decision. Our Nijog (servitor body) will review this decision of the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).  Nijog will be careful that such things do not happen in the future. But it’s not proper to cut the Rs 25,000 award of the servitors. Our Nijog strongly protests against this decision,” stated Binayak Das Mohapatra, Vice-President of the Daitapati Nijog in his reaction to the SJTA’s decision to cut the award.

The Sri Mandir Managing Committee at its meeting on Tuesday chaired by Gajapati Maharaja Dibya Singh Deb after a long debate decided to cut the award of Rs 25,000 given to Daitapatis for the fiasco at the time of removal of elephant attire from the idols after the end of Hati Vesha of the Lords.

The decision to cut the award was taken after examination of CCTV footage of that time by the SJTA.

“We checked the video footage of the incident at the Managing Committee meeting held yesterday. All at the meeting expressed anguish over the manner in which the elephant attire of the Lords was removed which could have been done with much respect and dignity. The award/incentive given to them for this special work is being put on hold, it has nothing to do with their remunerations,” informed Puri Collector Arvind Agarwal.

It may be recalled here that servitors were seen plucking decorative pieces from the elephant attire of Lord Jagannath and His siblings after the end of Hati Vesha during Snana Yatra on last Friday in the most disrespectful manner as we reported here.

The incident had caused severe resentment among the devotees of Lord Jagannath.