Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Mar 3:
The Suar Mahasuar Nijog (servitor body of temple cooks) of the Shree Jagannath temple in Odisha’s Puri town, today withdrew its ceasework and decided to discharge its duties of cooking food for Lords.
The servitors’ body decision has resolved the two-day deadlock over preparation of Mahaprasad, brining much respite to the devotees visiting the 12th Century shrine.
“We came to know that the servitors had gone on a strike as a result of which we are being deprived of Mahaprasad. We had heard a lot about Lords’ Prasad but we are unfortunate not to get its taste,” said a pilgrim from Rajasthan.
The Nijog had stopped cooking of Mahaprasad on Monday in protest against the arrest of a fellow servitor.
“We beg apology to the innumerable devotees of the Trinity for not discharging our basic duties as Lords’ cook. We were hurt by the approach of the district administration as it did not intervene into the matter after the arrest of our fellow servitor. Had the administration looked into the matter at the earliest, we would not have resorted to such action. Keeping the inconvenience of the devotees, we decided to call off our stir,” Biswanath Samantara, secretary, Bada Suar Nijog, told the media.
He said the supakaras were forced to sell Mahaprasad inside the bhitara bedha of the temple as the area inside Ananda Bazar due to space constraint.
“When we felt that the temple administration has no respect for Mahaprasad which it threw away after arresting our fellow servitor, we were deeply hurt and decided to go for a ceasework”, he added.
Samantara, however, claimed that there has been no irregularity in the rituals of the Lords.
“We are preparing the chhapan bhoga for the Lords in time,” he pointed out.
Stating that the servitors, who are still firm on their demands, are hopeful that the temple administration would try to resolve the matter very soon.