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Puri temple servitors issue ultimatum to State government

 The servitors of Puri Jagannath temple today issued ultimatum to the State government to resolve the issue of their climbing the chariot and touching the deities during the car festival. In a memorandum to the Law Minister Pratap Jena the angry servitors stated that if their right to climb the chariot and touch the deities is not restored, there would not be coordination between the administration and the servitors during the ensuing car festival.

The servitors went in a march to the Gopabandhu Ayurveda College where the Rath Yatra coordination meeting was convened by the District Magistrate and boycotted the meeting after handing over the memorandum to the Law Minister there.

The servitors have raised objections to the decision of the District Administration to restrict movement of the servitors during the Rath Yatra on the basis of ‘authorised and unauthorized’ ones.
Claiming that ‘darshan’ and ‘ performing rituals’ to be their birth right, the servitors said the temple and the district administration were at fault to allow only those servitors to go near the deities who are authorised.
“There was strong difference of opinion between the temple administration and the servitors during the last coordination meeting on Thursday on who all would be allowed to offer puja to the deities and touch them too during various rituals”, said the servitors while urging the Law Minister to intervene to restore their rights. They further said that since the Record of Rights is silent on the issue of who all are authorized and unauthorized to perform rituals during the Rath Yatra, the temple and the district administration should not create this controversy and deprive servitors their birth right.
“We strongly feel that by raking up the authorized and unauthorized issue, the temple and the district administration is breaking the age old tradition and depriving the servitors their birth right”, they said adding that they as well as their family members have every right to go near the deities and touch them without any restrictions.
Observers feel that the unruly servitors who created ruckus during the Nabakalebar festival seem to be trying to arm twist the temple and district administration ahead of the world famous Rath Yatra this year.


Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


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