Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Dec 7:
Protest in front of Hindu shrine Jagannath temple in Odisha’s pilgrim town Puri continued for the second consecutive day today over erection of barricades and installation of security system on the premises.
Resentment is growing among the devotees, servitors and socio-cultural organisations over the putting up of barricades inside the 12th century shrine allegedly causing inconvenience to the devotees to witness Mangala Arati of the deities.
Several devotees, servitors and members of Jagannath Sena staged protest in front of Puri Singhadwara police station and Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) office today to lift the barricades and installation of CCTV surveillance system on the premises.
The protestors are opposing the erection of barricade inside the Natya Mandap of the temple which the temple administration has installed for smooth darshan of Mangala Arati.
“We were not allowed for Mangala Arati darshan in the holy month of Kartik. They are selectively allowing people inside. We demand smooth darshan of Mangala Arati,” a devotee demanded.
We are not able to have darshan of Mangala Arati properly after the barricade has been put up. We are not being allowed inside the temple. Besides, the on-duty security personnel are misbehaving with the devotees, they alleged.
False case has been registered against Damodar Mahasuar, a servitor, for protesting this, they added.
“Barricades are essential but now the footfall of devotees is low. Now, they devotees are inconvenienced when they take are guided through the barricades. Resentment is growing among the devotees when they are not able to have a proper darshan of the deities during Mangala Arati,” Damodar Mahasuar, the president of the Suar nijog said.
“The barricades have been put up for proper regulation of crowd inflow. A system has been put in place where devotees will enter through one gate and exit through another. Some people are not adhering to this and opposing the one-way system. This has been done for smooth darshan of the deities. As far as the installation of CCTVs is concerned, surveillance system has been mounted at various places except inside the Sanctum Sanctorum. This has been done by the Odisha Police Housing Corporation (OPHC) in view of the security threat to the temple and the criminal activities going on on the premises. In the last temple committee meeting, it was decided to temporarily unmount the CCTVs inside the Jagamohana for repair works,” SJTA chief administrator, Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said.