Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Aug 3:
Police has completed its investigations into the incident of a woman devotee climbing atop Nandighosa chariot of Lord Jagannath when it was parked in front of the Sri Gundicha temple in Odisha’s holy town Puri on July 20, informed Superintendent of Police, Asish Singh today.
“Investigation into the incident was assigned to the additional SP which has been completed and he would be submitting his report today,” Singh told the media here.
The concerned woman has been identified and has been interrogated about the incident, informed Singh adding appropriate action will be taken as per law on availability of the report.
The image of a woman climbing and descending from a chariot on July 20 was vividly captured by the CCTV camera.
Following the examination of the CCTV footage Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief administrator Suresh Chandra Mohapatra in a letter to the district administration on July 25 asked it to probe the incident.
Mohapatra had asked the district administration to ascertain the identity of the woman devotee, who had mounted the chariot on July 20.
Besides, he had asked to register a criminal case against the woman since she has violated the High Court’s orders.
The SJTA on July 22 suspended a servitor Artatrana Pratihari and served show-cause notice to Jagannath Swain Mohapatra, Badagrahi of Lord Jagannath, for allegedly allowing a woman onto the chariot of Lord Jagannath on July 20.
Pratihari has been suspended under Section 21-B of the Shree Jagannath Temple Act.
Last year, the High Court had imposed a blanket ban on pilgrims’ access to chariots following the recommendation of Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth Swami Nischalananda Saraswati.
The Jagannath Badagrahi had strongly reacted to being served with the show cause notice for the incident.
“It is not my job to stop anyone from mounting the chariot. My duty is to protect the body of the Lord and not police the chariot. What were the police and SJTA doing?”, he had said.
In a frontal attack on the SJTA chief administrator then, the Jagannath Badagrahi had directly blamed him for the disturbances insinuating that he was doing this because he was peeved at being sidelined after Soumendra Priyadarshi was made the OSD for Nabakalebara.
He had said that the chief administrator was attempting to create a mess to defame the Naveen Patnaik government.