The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday issued a notice to the Chief Secretary of Odisha and the Collector of Puri over the alleged hardships and difficulties faced by devotees during entry and darshan of Lord Jagannath at Puri Srimandir.
The apex human rights watchdog has issued the notice following a complaint filed by Puri Vikash Parishad President Jagannath Bastia over the ordeal of devotees.
The NHRC has mentioned in its report quoting the complainant that devotees are facing the hardships due to gross neglect by Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and inaction of the State government.
“There is long queue of the devotees on the Grand Road up to Market Chhak about two km distance from Jagannath temple every day for darshan of Sri JagannathMahaprabhu. lt is very pathetic that thousands of devotees are waiting in the open barricade at Grand Road for darshan of Lord Jagannath at least two to three hours daily under the scorching heat to enter into temple because of the mindless action of the administration which is endangering their lives,” the notice read.
“Neither Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) nor district administration or Puri Municipality have installed temporary sheds on the Grand Road and around the temple and not yet covered the upper portion of barricade from temple office to Market Chhak. Even there are no free drinking water distribution systems near the barricade for the devotees. There are no provisions of special queue for the senior citizens, women and physically challenged persons,” the notice further mentioned.
The rights body has also expressed its concerns over the fact that there is no discipline and smooth darshan system inside the temple at Natamandap and Jagamohan. Due to heavy rush of devotees and in absence of proper management and due to lack of proper supervision by the concerned officials, the senior citizens, women, children and physically challenged persons are facing difficulties for smooth darshan of Lord Jagannath every day.
Besides pick pocketing, snatching of gold jewelleries and misbehaving of the lady pilgrims are increasing day by day in the temple premises.
“It is observed that many priest of the temple are always standing in front of the deities with some pots and dakshinathali obstructing view of the deities for which the devotees are not properly able to take darshan of the Trinity,” the NHRC further wrote in the letter.
The Commission has directed Odisha government to take necessary actions in this regard within eight weeks.
(Edited by Suryakant Jena)