Servitors challenge SJTA, Gajapati’s decision on ‘touching deities’
Bhubaneswar: Soon after Badagrahi of Devi Subhadra, Ramchandra Dasmohapatra brought allegations that devotees allegedly touched the deities during the Kirtan Chakada of Lord Balabhadra today, another group of servitors claimed there is nothing wrong in it.
As soon as the allegations surfaced, a group of servitors led by Daitapatis—Jagannath Swain Mohapatra and Ramkrushna DasMohapatra claimed that there is ‘no harm in touching the deities’.
The servitors also took a stand against Puri Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb, who had vouched for a complete ban on the issue irrespective of the place, in or outside the temple.
In an exclusive interview to OTV yesterday, the Gajapati said, “Be it the garbha gruha, adapa madap, snana bedi, pahandi or atop the chariots, no one should touch the deities.”
Earlier, the SJTA had banned touching deities by devotees during pahandi or atop chariots during Rath Yatra this year via a notice issued on June 23.
Refuting the allegations, SJTA chief administrator Pradip Jena said there have been no irregularities.
“Touching of deities by devotees or devotees in disguise will be considered as a cognizable offence. In the event of someone being caught in such act, penal action as provided in the law will be taken,” SJTA had warned through a notice.
Both the Daitapatis on the other hand further challenged the ‘ban’ imposed by the SJTA and stated that “We would move Orissa High Court, if needed, against such move of the administration,” said Ramkrushna DasMohapatra.
On the other hand, Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati said, “As one of the early Shankaracharya had re-installed the Lord in the temple, a Shankaracharya should not be deprived of his duties and involvement in the rituals so that the temple will develop under his valuable guidance.”