Puri: Police officials are now in the ‘eye of the storm’ for alleged misconduct and controversy surrounding touching deities of Puri Jagannath temple during Rath Yatra festival this year.
Besides the issue of misbehaving with Puri sub-collector during Sunabesha or driving three magistrate rank officers out of the cordon during Adharpana ritual, the men in khaki have also been accused of allegedly molesting women devotees near Gundicha temple during the Sandhya Darshan.
A senior police official has been accused of touching the deity during the pahandi ceremony during Niladri Bije yesterday. The officer has been identified as Amulya Dhar, former Inspector-in-charge of Marine Police Station.
Though the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has ordered a probe into the alleged issue related to touching of Devi Subhadra’s idol, the servitors have demanded stern action against the police officials for such indiscipline and violation.
“Law should be equal for everybody and action taken against those found guilty,” said Binay DasMohapatra, Daitapati Sevayat.
Rabi Narayan Samantra, another servitor said, “The CCTV footage should be scrutinised to check whether the concerned police official has touched the deity or not and subsequently action taken against the violators.”
Puri Collector Arvind Agarwal, on the other hand, claimed that after so many years the Rath Yatra festival was conducted smoothly with all rituals completed on time.
However, the issue of touching of deities is being investigated and appropriate action would be taken on the issue, Agarwal added.
“We are investigating the matter and action would be taken after getting the inquiry report,” said Director General of Police KB Singh.
Meanwhile, Singhadwar police has detained two devotees for allegedly touching idol of Lord Jagannath during pahandi on the occasion of Niladri Bije yesterday.