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Suryakant Jena

Puri: Despite heavy security, a youth today managed to climb atop the Lord Jagannath temple in Puri, tore the Patitapaban Bana (holy flag) and affixed a 'gamuccha' on the Nilachakra. The incident has now become the talk of the town raising grave concerns about safety and security at the 12th century shrine.

According to sources, a youth Hatia Mahanta, stated to be a resident of Bhadrak Town climbed to the top of the temple through a ladder fixed by the ASI near the Bimala Temple and later, reportedly tore the Patitapaban Bana from the Nilachakra of the temple, while tying a ‘gammuchha’ (towel cloth) in its place.

After the youth got down the temple, Singhadwar Police detained him for interrogation. SP Umashankar Das clarified, “Based on the preliminary probe, it seems that the youth’s mental condition is not sound. We will bring the matter to the notice of the chief administrator of the temple.”

Asked about the incident, the accused youth said, “Yesterday, a monkey snatched away Rs 5000 from me while I was loitering in the temple. Later even though I complained about the incident to the police, they did not take any action. I thought that the monkey might have taken my money to the top of the temple, so I climbed up, but could not find my money.”

However, the servitor community and the general public have expressed grave concerns over the incident.

“Despite dense security cover, how can a youth climb to the Nilachakra of the temple and tear off the Bana?” said a servitor, Nrusingha Mohapatra.

Chunara servitor, Sarada Prasad Mohanty said “Security deployed at the temple should be more vigilant. Such incidents should be avoided because it poses threat to the security of the shrine.”

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