Puri: It was another harrowing day for the devotees of Lord Jagannath, as no 'Abadha' or 'Mahaprasad' was released for the third consecutive day today on account of noncooperation from 'Suara' & 'Mahasuara' servitors who have been demanding Rs 50 lakh compensation for losses incurred due to delay in rituals two days ago.
Devotees continue to express displeasure as ‘Abadha’ is still not available at Ananda Bazaar, located on the premises of the temple.
However, as an alternative, Suara Nijog distributed ‘Khechudi’ among devotees free of cost after offering ‘Kotha Bhog’ to the deities.
“I am unhappy because ‘Abadha’ is not available. Darshan seems incomplete without the 'Mahaprasad',” said a devotee from Nayagarh.
Another devotee from Purusottampur said, “The Anand Bazaar is wearing a deserted look. We are returning home without having the 'Mahaprasad'.”
However, normalcy returned to the conduct of rituals and ‘Sakala Dhoopa’, ‘Jatarangi Mahasnana’ and ‘Madhyana Dhoopa’ of deities were carried out on time today.
Meanwhile, Puri Collector Aravind Agarwal requested servitors to resolve the issue holding discussions with the temple administration.
“I would request the Suara-Mahasuara Nijog to consider how devotees can get ‘Abadha’. I believe that a solution will come out soon,” Agarwal added.
Commenting on the issue, Ram Chandra Mohapatra, member of Suara-Mahasuara Nijog, stated, “We request the temple administration to compensate for the losses and ensure that the rituals are preformed on time in future.”
Earlier in the day, the issue of delay in Srimandir rituals rocked the State Assembly with Opposition members creating din demanding clarification from the Chief Minister or the Law Minister. Following the ruckus, the Speaker had to adjourn the House repeatedly.
“The State administration has been aimless and failed to take a decision,” said Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra.
Holding the State government responsible for the delay in rituals, BJP legislature party leader KV Singh Deo said, “Had the State administration and the temple administration performed their duties, this deviation would not have occurred.”
Senior BJD leader Damodar Rout said, “This issue should be resolved by the Puri Shankaracharya and the Puri Gajapati King and the matter should not be politicised.”
On the other hand, Law Minister Pratap Jena said, “It is untrue that deities were deprived of food. However, the rituals got delayed. Today, all rituals were performed on time.”
“Due to noncooperation of Shree Supakara servitors, 'Bhoga Mandap' bhog could not be offered and ‘Bikraya Baradi Bhog’ is not available to devotees.”
However, the minister's claim that the deities were not deprived of food has raised eyebrows as it contradicted the account given by the Puri Collector yesterday.
While urging the devotees, the Puri Collector had said yesterday, “We appeal Suara-Mahasuara Nijog to cooperate as the deities have not been served offerings since yesterday. That is very sad.”
Meanwhile, BJD MP Tathagata Satpathy tweeted, "While we all greedy mortals eat & make merry, our beloved Lord is neglected and deprived of food(Prasad). Shame on me and all of us. Beg His forgiveness for my race."