Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Jul 23:
A day after the suspension of a Pratihari servitor followed by a notice served on a senior Daitapati Badagrahi by the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) to explain the incident in which a woman devotee was seen mounting on the Nandighosa chariot of Lord Jagannath during the Adapa Pahandi at Sri Gundicha temple in Odisha’s Puri town on Tuesday, the Badagrahi in a statement to the media today said keeping an eye on the devotee mounting the chariot is not his job.
“I have received the notice of the SJTA this morning. Let me tell you that I am in charge of the Sri Anga (idol) of Lord Jagannath. I am not supposed to see who is mounting the chariot. It is up to the police and the temple administration to take action against those who are in charge of the charamala (ladder fitted to the chariot). Since the temple administration officials and senior police officials were present at the chariot, it was their duty to keep an eye on the charamala and restrain the devotees from mounting the chariot”, said Jagannath Swain Mohapatra, Badagrahi of Lord Jagannath to the media.
He also said the Pratihari sevayat, Artatrana Pratihari, who was suspended by the temple administration, is a gentleman and a sincere servitor. It is possible that he might not have taken notice of the woman devotee mounting the chariot . “Had he taken note of this, he would have brought the woman devotees down from the chariot”, Mohapatra pointed out.
“I was tensed due to inordinate delay in the Adapa Pahandi of the Lords by 4-5 hours as the temple administration had not fitted the charamala to the Adapa Mandap inside Sri Gundicha temple”, he added.
Stating that the Pratihari sevayats are in charge of the security of the Lords and the temple, Mohapatra said if a kin of the Pratihari mounts the chariots, he cannot push him/her out of the chariot.
Coming down heavily on the temple administration, he said going by the action it has taken clearly shows that it is deliberately wants indiscipline.
“The temple administration is running Hitler’s rule by suspending the Pratihari sevayat and serving show cause notice to me without examining the exact cause of the incident. It has deliberately taken the action suo motu with a motive to create disturbances and misunderstanding among the temple servitors to disrupt the Bahuda Yatra,” he added.
The action of the temple administration came after watching a video footage in which a woman devotee was seen mounting the Nandighosa chariot during Adapa Pahandi of the Lords on Tuesday night. It later suspended the Pratihari Sevayat Artatrana Pratihari and served a notice to Jagannath Swain Mohapatra, Badagrahi of Lord Jagannath in violation of section 21 (b) of the Shri Jagannath Temple Act and violation of the directive of the Odisha High Court.
This was confirmed by the SJTA chief administrator Suresh Chandra Mohapatra in a media briefing last night.