Niladri Bije fiasco: Two more absconding servitors seek anticipatory bail

Puri/Cuttack: Two days after Puri police released photographs of eight servitors accused of manhandling the collector during the Niladri Bije of the deities on July 17 terming them ‘absconders’, two of them today moved the High Court seeking anticipatory bail. They are Ipsita Pratihari and Bhagirathi Khuntia.

Three others – Damodar Mahasuara, Jayakrusna Mahasuara and Harinarayan Khuntia – named in the FIR lodged by the Puri Collector alleging that he was threatened and misbehaved with, have already filed anticipatory bail petitions in the High Court. However, their petitions are yet to be heard, sources said.

All of them are in the absconders’ list whose photographs have been circulated by police in the holy city and elsewhere.

Though the police have so far arrested 12 servitors on charges of creating disturbance during Niladri Bije of Lord Jagannth, eight more continue to remain untraceable.

The eight absconding servitors included Damodara Mahasuara and his brother Jayakrusna Mahasuara, who allegedly abused and manhandled Puri Collector Aravind Agarwal.

The others are: Saina Khuntia, Bhimsen Palankadhari, Ipsit Pratihari, Rabi Dash, Kashinath Khuntia and Bhagirathi Khuntia.

The move came after the district police secured non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against six servitors from the Puri SDJM court.

Puri Collector Arvind Agarwal had on July 18 lodged two complaints with the district SP Sarthak Sarangi naming six sevayats for their alleged role in creating disturbance during the conduct of Niladri Bije rituals.