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Odishatv Bureau

Puri: Sevayats of Lord Jagannath Temple in the holy town on Tuesday staged a protest alleging Odisha government of not showing any sincerity in opening the 12th-century shrine for devotees.

The servitors argued that despite the Centre allowing relaxations for reopening of religious shrines in a restricted manner under the unlocking process, the State Government is still circumspect about the matter.

Disturbed by the development, senior servitor of the temple, Damodar Mahasuara and his associates staged a dharna in front of the Singhadwar demanding reopening of the temple.

Servitors demand that devotees should be allowed into the temple with strict adherence to the Covid-19 guidelines.

“The State Government could deploy four doctors in four gates and allow only 50 devotees to enter into the temple at a time,” said Mahasuara.

He also questioned about the amount of ex gratia provided to the servitors.

“The servitors have suffered serious financial difficulties during the lockdown. However each servitor has only been provided Rs 5,000. Isn’t it a meagre amount to run one’s family during this difficult time,” he questioned.

The State Government had decided to shut down Jagannath temple in March this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the temple has remained closed since then. Only servitors are allowed inside the temple to perform the rituals.

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