CCTVs installed at Bhitara Katha of Puri Srimandir

Puri: To keep closer tabs on activities of devotees and the servitors, the Puri Srimandir administration on Saturday began installation of CCTVs near ‘Bhitara Katha’ -the last point of entry for devotees in the temple.

Sources said, at present as many as four CCTVs are being installed in the temple’s prayer hall where devotees gather to have darshan of the Lord Jagannath and his sibling deities.

Installation of the camera systems are being done mainly near Bhitara Katha where servitors collect their dakshina (donation from devotees) and for the sake of crowd control ‘Bhandar Gruha’ and ‘Beherana Dwara’, Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi said.

Another CCTV which will capture all the activities and crowd on the Jaya Vijaya Dwara has also been installed.

It is important to note that while the cameras at “Bhitara Katha “will be active during the general public darshan, they will remain off limits during rituals and other “neetis”.

The significant move to install cameras inside Srimandir comes in wake of the alleged assault on a tourist by two servitors inside the temple premises last week.

A devotee identified as Chetan Ganpat from Pune of Maharashtra was left injured after being allegedly attacked by two servitors for refusing ‘dakshina’ (donation) near the ‘Bhitara Katha’ last week.

Following the incident, the temple’s Chief Administrator suspended the two accused, Khuntia servitor Madan Mohan Khuntia and Mekap servitor Somanath Mekap for an indefinite period as per the 22B rule under the temple act. A probe has been ordered into the incident but the accused duo are stated to be absconding.