Thousands of devotees of Puri’s Shri Jagannath temple left stranded for hours after the servitudes refused to carry out any rituals and shut the doors citing problems with the local policemen, Indian Express reported.
Commenting on the incident Dr Harihar Kanungo, a renowned temple scholar said that the temple is in function since the tenth century – and an incident like this never happened before. It was the first time in history, such incident of a complete shutdown has taken place.
Earlier this year in October, the servitudes carried out protests against the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration’s (SJTA) decision to try out the queue system for the devotees. The temple proceedings got delayed by 2-3 hours then.
On Friday, the temple proceedings and daily rituals began after a 12-hour impasse, around 4:30 PM, when the devotees were also allowed entry.
While the impasse was still going on, Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi told IE, “We can not force the servitudes to open the temple, if they do not want to. Two cases have been registered and we will look into the CCTV footages.” Puri collector also visited the temple twice during the standoff.
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The devotees from across the country were made to stand on the road in the cold, due to the standoff, many of whom tried to break the police barrier and enter the temple forcefully.
Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingh Deb, the titular ‘king’ of Puri, requested the government to look into the issue and resolve the issue – while the State law Minister Pratap Jena said that he was closely monitoring the situation.
Previously the servitudes and the state government also locked horns over losing the keys of the Ratna Bhandar of the temple, Supreme Court’s order to let non-Hindus enter the temple and about demolishing the hereditary rights of the servitudes.