Odishatv Bureau

Puri: Narasingha Pujapanda, a servitor of Puri Srimandir, today threatened to immolate himself if the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials attempt to enter the ‘Ratna Bhandar’ of the temple on March 26.

"If there is a crack the Ratna Bhandar should be opened in presence of everyone. I have decided that if they enter it on March 26, I will immolate myself in front of Singhadwara and am not going to change the decision," said Narasingha.

The ASI had earlier sought permission of the Orissa High Court to assess condition of the Ratna Bhandar, where all the gold and other valuables of Lord Jagannath and his siblings are kept in safe custody, before undertaking repair works of Nata Mandap.

The court on Thursday directed ASI to carry out a detailed study of the structural status of the Ratna Bhandar on March 26 and 27 and submit its report in the next hearing of the court scheduled to be held on March 29.

Earlier on Tuesday, the newly reconstituted managing committee of the Srimandir had decided to open the Ratna Bhandar and Chief Administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), Pradeep Jena informed that the ASI will be asked to examine whether the Ratna Bhandar, which is an extension of the Jagamohan, is structurally secure or not.

On the other hand, hundreds of Jagannath Sena activists took to streets on Thursday in protest of the reconstituted temple management committee's decision to open the Ratna Bhandar. They staged demonstration in front of the Singhadwara of Srimandir alleging the move as an attempt to explore the treasure in the name of inspection.