Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

In a shameful incident, a senior servitor of Srimandir in Puri was arrested on allegations of sexually assaulting a minor servitor within the temple premises.   

The senior servitor, identified as Laxmi Khuntia, has been booked and arrested under Sections 294, 377, 506 and POCSO Act. 

Earlier today, the Singhadwara Police Station had registered an FIR and launched an investigation based on the complaints made by the minor boy’s father.

As alleged by the minor victim’s father, the senior servitor had been molesting his son for several days. The servitor at Goddess Laxmi temple had first sexually assaulted his son around 2 months back when the latter was at Bhubaneswari temple, the complaint states. 

When the minor boy protested, the senior servitor threatened him with dire consequences if he revealed anyone about the incident. Moreover, the senior servitor had also warned him not to allow him to enter the premises of the shrine if ever he opened his mouth. 

The victim’s father has also lodged written complaints about the shameful incident with the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), the association of servitors (niyog), besides the police.

“We have registered an offence (C/R no 117/21) based on the allegations. We have launched a probe to collect more relevant information in connection with the case,” said Mihir Kumar Panda, Additional Superintendent of Police (ADSP), Puri.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Singhadwara Police had arrested a servitor of Srimandir yesterday (December 9) on charges of molesting a minor girl on the premises of the 12th-century shrine. The incident reportedly occurred on Wednesday when the servitor molested her near the Baman temple within the premises of the shrine.