Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Jul 10:
Doubts have been raised over the implementation of Justice P K Mohanty Commission of Inquiry recommendation for issue of identity cards to servitors of Shree Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s pilgrim town Puri before the Nabakalebara Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath on July 18.
The proposal with regard to the implementation of the recommendation in the forthcoming Rath Yatra came up during the Chhattisa Nijog’s meeting called by the Shree Jagananth Temple Administration (SJTA) here on Thursday.
Representatives of the Nijogs (servitor bodies) said the issue of identity cards was recommended by PK Mohanty Commission of Inquiry, which had probed a stampede at the temple. It was said at the meeting that its implementation was not binding. Issue of photo identity cards to family members of servitor families has not been completed. Only 30% of I Cards have been issued till date. The Chhattisa Nijog decided to take a call on its implementation after issuing photo I cards is complete.
Sources privy to the meeting said for now, servitors and their family members will enter the temple without I cards as they did earlier.
The state government had planned to issue identity cards to priests in view of the presence of several impersonators, who pose as priests.
Over 1,700 servitors render services at the temple throughout the year. Though the temple had in the past attempted to issue identity cards to servitors, the process was stalled due to stiff opposition by some sections of the priests. The priests thought the identity cards would demean them as they would be frisked by cops at the entrance.