Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Jul 2:
A three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Odisha Crime Branch police today arrived at the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration office here to investigate the circulation of misleading photographs of the secret rituals of Lord Jagannath like Brahma Parivartan, burial of the old idols of the Lords etc. on the social media.
Sources said the team is interrogating several officials of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) in connection with the secret rituals of the Lords.
It’s also likely to interrogate Daitapatis if any of them are found to have taken mobile phones inside the temple premises on the night of June 15 and whether anyone had taken photographs or recorded videos of the Brahma/Ghata Parivartan rituals, sources said.
Entry of mobiles phones into the temple premises, it may be noted, is strictly prohibited.
The Crime Branch SIT will also probe allegations of several images of Lord Jagannath having been carved out of the consecrated darus apart from the four presiding idols of the temple and interrogating Biswakarma/Maharana sevayats (carpenter servitors) in this connection, sources said.
The allegation has been dismissed outright on June 27 by senior carpenter servitor Krushna Chandra Maharana, who was part of the team of carpenter servitors, engaged in the carving of the idols of presiding deities and is presently engaged in the construction of chariots for the Rath Yatra. He said apart from the idols of the four deities, the only other idol carved out of the consecrated timber was that of Lord Madhaba.
SIT team members conducting their investigations at the SJTA office were tight-lipped and refrained from speaking to the media till the filing of this report.
Crime Branch ADG B K Sharma had informed the media on June 30 that an SIT comprising three officers had been formed to probe the circulation of fake photographs sought to be passed off as pictures of the secret rituals of Lord Jagannath like infusion of Brahma into the new idols and photographs of pataali rituals of old deities in the social media.
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) wrote a letter to Sharma on June 29 requesting a thorough formal investigation into the issue after finding no truth in them following a preliminary investigation.
In an official press release issued on June 29 evening, SJTA said the photograph portrayed as ‘Brahma’ was uploaded in a video titled ‘Matsya Shaligram’ on youtube.com four years back on October 14, 2011. This photograph was posted on social media by one Himanshu Singhal, the release said.
“Rajeev Singhal, an expert and researcher on Shaligram, is researching on ‘Matsya Shaligram’, its specialities, shape and appearance, utility and source of availability. This information is available on youtube.com . Photograph of ‘Matsya Shaligram’ of Rajiv Shinghal’s research has been uploaded on youtube.com by one Himashu Singhal as Lord Jagannath’s Brahma. This Shaligram is not the actual Brahma of Lord Jagannath. Therefore, devotees should not allow themselves to be tricked into believing that the photograph depicted as Brahma in both social and mainstream media is genuine. Interested individuals can get appropriate information on this by visiting the site on Matsya Shaligram onyoutube.com through their computers or mobile handsets with internet connectivity,” the release said.
The release, signed by Laxmidhar Puja Panda, PRO SJTA on Monday, said the temple administration has written to the ADG Crime Branch requesting it to conduct a thorough probe into the circulation of confusing pictures of different secret rituals of Lord Jagannath like infusion of Brahma, photographs of pataali rituals of the Lords and erroneous facts in the social media in the last few days. The SJTA has requested the ADG Crime Branch to consider its letter as an FIR in this regard.
The SJTA had reiterated that the photographs doing rounds on social media and claiming to be that of the secret rituals of Lord Jagannath are completely fictitious and there is no truth in it.