Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 21:
Tension prevailed in Lingaraj temple in Odisha capital for quite some time after a dhoti-clad British devotee named Alexander Gurov attempted to enter the temple yesterday.
The incident took place at the Lion’s Gate of the temple at about 11 AM, precisely at the time when Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)’s Working President Praveen Togadia was coming out of the temple.
As per sources, about 12 young men from Mumbai’s Chowpatty area came to the temple along with the foreigner to visit the temple. While the temple police informed them about the ban on the entry of non-Hindu devotees inside the temple premises, they tried to enter the temple forcibly taking advantage of inadequate presence of security men.
A scuffle ensued when servitors of the temple and temple administration members tried to prevent the foreigner from entering the temple. When the photo-journalist of our sister concern ‘Sambad’ tried to cover the incident, the young men tried to snatch his camera and delete the photograph of the identity card of the foreigner.
The situation was brought under control after a few servitors intervened.
“The metal detector here doesn’t work. The police are busy protecting the VIPs while non-Hindus try to get into the temple. The temple is not safe with a handful of security officers,” said a servitor.
A similar view was expressed by Secretary of Badu Niyog Kamalakanta Badu and Brahman Niyog Secretary Biranchi Narayan Pati.
“The Police Commissioners had assured stricter security arrangement during Mahashivratri meeting. Even though six months are gone after the meeting, neither the metal detector works, not are there more security personnel,” said Badu.
“It is the duty of the police and administration to provide security to the temple. This incident would be taken up in the next trust board meeting,” said Pati.