Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, May 2:
Only those sevayats (servitors) who are connected with niti (rituals) of the Lords would be allowed to climb atop the Snana Mandap (bathing altar) during the snana (bathing) ritual of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra on Debasnana Purnima this year at the Sri Mandir in Odisha’s Puri.
Further, only those servitors connected with Rath Yatra rituals of the Lords will be allowed atop the chariots during the nine-day-long festival.
“Only sevayats connected with the rituals of the Lords will be allowed to carry the deities and stay near them. Other than them, this year no one else will be allowed,” informed Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi speaking to reporters after the second coordination meeting on Rath Yatra-2017 held here today.
“If at all other than them anybody else is to be allowed like a demand is being made to allow family members of sevayats and their kids, there has to be clarity on that. So, I have sought for a clear-cut clarification from the temple administration. Whatever list or instruction is provided to us we will implement it foolproof,” said Sarangi reacting to the demand by sevayats to allow their family members and kids atop chariot and touching of deities as per traditional practice.
The second coordination meeting for Rath Yatra-2017 was chaired by Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central) A B Ota.
However, similar to the first coordination meeting held earlier, sevayats from all nijogs (servitor bodies) did not attend the coordination meeting. Only servitors belonging to a handful of nijogs like Khuntia, Daitapati and Muduli nijogs attended today’s meeting.
“In comparison to the first meeting more sevayat brethren have attended this meeting. This is their festival, their Rath Yatra. It’s Rath Yatra of the Odia people. I am very happy that they attended the meeting in large numbers. They have expressed concern for better understanding and coordination between sevayats and district administration,” said Ota talking to reporters after the meeting.
“There is no lack of coordination between sevayats and district administration other than some particular sevayats who had wronged. Some against whom action was taken, want it to be removed. One thing that is important for us is that the Lords’ niti be performed with discipline. Everyone should have an attitude of dedication towards the Lords’,” said Arvind Agarwal, Puri Collector who present at today’s meeting.
The meeting was attended by IGP (Central) Soumendra Priyadarshi and other officials of the concerned departments.