Home BIG STORY Russian tourist found begging at Jagannath temple in Odisha’s Puri

Russian tourist found begging at Jagannath temple in Odisha’s Puri


Puri: In a shocking sight in pilgrim city Puri, a tourist from Russia was found begging playing a Khanjani (a percussion musical instrument) in front of Singha Dwara (entrance point) of Lord Jagannath temple here on Sunday morning.

The tourist identified as Andrei Glagolev (53) calls himself as Radhe Gobinda.

Following the report, Puri district administration rescued Andrei and rehabilitated him in a shelter home yesterday.

Even though, he is from Russia, he hesitates to go back to his country. Rather, he wants to stay in India with refugee status.

Sources said that Andrei has applied for refugee status at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in New Delhi. He has appointment with the UNHCR for meeting on January 8, 2018.

According to reports, Andrei hails from Bavly area in Russia. He claimed that he was forced flee the country in 2015.

When asked about his unwillingness to return his own country, Andrei said that his family drove him out of the home after he started worshipping Lord Shiva in Russia.

“I am a worshipper of Lord Shiva. I was opposed by some groups for my inclination towards Hinduism. They threatened me of dire consequences if I continue to worship Lord Shiva. I left my country due to threat to my life and reached India on a tourist VISA,” he said.

Before visiting Puri, Andrei was staying in Mathura for the past two years on an extended VISA.

After he arrived in Puri, he could not afford a hotel room. He spent his nights at Railway station. He sat with the beggars near the Jagannath temple and sang Bhajans.

We have no issue to accommodate Andrei here in the shelter home. He can stay here till approval of his application for refugee status, said Tourism officer Bijay Jena.