Ramakanta Biswas

The famous Handi Bhanga Yatra of Lord Lingaraj could not be held this year too after alleged non-cooperation of a sect of servitors led to disruption of rituals at Lord Kapileswar on Saturday.

Handi Bhanga Yatra is a connecting ritual between the Kapileswar and Lingaraj temples. The Palia and Malia servitors, who are supposed to perform rituals, did not discharge their service today.

As per sources, the festival has been cancelled for the ninth consecutive year due to the non-participation of the servitors in the rituals. 

The cancellation of the yatra prompted the temple trust board to convene an emergency meeting. 

"Handi Bhanga Yatra could not be held today. Kantia sevayats were present at the temple for Mangal Alati as per the direction of the government. However, Palia sevayats were absent resulting in the cancellation of the rituals," said Purnachandra Khuntia, Mahasuar at Kapileswar temple.

Sub-collector Sayabrata Sahu said, "The sub-committee had fixed the routine and accordingly a notice was served to the concerned servitors to perform the rituals of the Lord from 4.30 am today. However, the Malia servitors did not turn up and other servitors also did not cooperate in the rituals. The daily rituals of Lord Kapileswar could not be held today."

"An emergency meeting was convened today and the trust board has decided to take action against the servitors who disobeyed the rules. We will intimate the endowment commission in this regard for further action," Sahu added.  

Abanikanta Patnaik, a trust board member said, "It was Malia servitors' turn today, but they did not show up despite repeated calls. Due to the delay in the rituals, we convened the emergency meeting."