Darshan at Jagannath Temple halted following servitor-police clash

Puri: General darshan at Jagannath Temple in Puri has been halted on Friday after an ugly clash between a servitor and the cops on Thursday night.

Thousands of devotees waited outside the temple for hours on Friday morning for the darshan of the Trinity. They could not get the darshan of the deities as the servitors did not open the doors.

The sevayats had closed the temple in protest against police assault on a senior sevayat.

Besides, daily rituals like Mangala Alati at the centuries-old shrine have not begun yet.

The servitors are adamant despite holding discussion with them to resolve the issue. Now, everything depends on the conscience and decision of servitors, said SJTA chief administrator Pradipta Mohapatra.

Meanwhile, tension prevailed in front of the temple when irate devotees barged into the temple after breaking the barricades and scuffled with the cops present on the spot.

“There is no reason for the devotees to express their resentment as such incident in this temple has not occurred for the first time. Since the sevayats have the rights to perform the rituals of the Lords, it is up to them to take a call on this matter. If they do not perform the rituals and close the doors of the main temple, the devotees will return as they have nothing to say,” said Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi.

He said they have registered two cases in connection with yesterday’s face-off between servitors and police and examined the CCTV footage.

“We have already appealed the servitors not to halt rituals of the deities at the temple. But we have no rights to open the temple gates forcefully. Devotees should not be disappointed for it and wait till the temple gates open,” said Sarangi.

Last night, police officials had allegedly prevented three devotees from West Bengal from entering the temple suspecting them as foreigners.

A senior servitor Bhabani Mohapatra got involved in a scuffle with police personnel deployed at the Singhadwar.