Puri SP talks tough as servitors make ‘peace’ overture

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Puri: In a statement that points to the hardening of the administration’s position on the issue of the mess created by a group of servitors during the Niladri Bije ritual of the deities last Sunday, Puri superintendent of police (SP) Sarthak Sarangi today averred the guilty will not be spared under any circumstances.

“No pressure, no politics will work here. Once the case has been registered and the legal process has started, it will not stop under any circumstances. We are trying to get them and we will get them,” Sarangi said.

To drive the point home about the determination of the police to arrest the servitors on the run, the SP said criminal cases will be initiated against those who shelter the absconders.

“We have applied for search warrants against those whose names figure in the FIR lodged by the Collector. We are trying to trace them during the course of investigation. Once the court grants the warrant application, we can nab them any moment without any hindrance,” he said.

As if on cue, the hitherto belligerent servitors appeared to have come down from their perch and sought leniency today.

A team of 20 servitors met the Collector today and expressed grief over the incident that took place during the Niladri Bije ritual and urged him not to take action against innocent priests.

“We requested him to restore peace and not to take action against innocent servitors not involved in the case even though they were present on the spot as spectators. We will not interfere in the police investigation,” senior servitor Binayak Das Mohapatra said after the meeting.

Notably, cases have been registered against nine servitors who defied the High Court sanctioned ban on climbing of chariots, argued with and heckled the collector and even threatened to kill him when he tried to stop them from doing so and assaulted media persons. Two of them were arrested yesterday while three others, including the alleged mastermind of the Niladri Bije fiasco Damodar Mahasuara, moved the High Court seeking anticipatory bail yesterday.

Sources said police have identified 15 servitors who were allegedly involved in the act of indiscipline from the CCTV footage of the time. Of them, eight have been held so far, the sources added.

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