Police to seek warrants against absconding servitors tomorrow

Puri: After failing to trace the ‘erring’ servitors accused of physically assaulting Puri Collector Aravind Agarwal and manhandling media persons during the night of Niladri Bije of the Trinity on Sunday, police today said it will move the court tomorrow to seek search warrants against the wrongdoers.

Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi told newsmen that the properties of the sevayats, who indulged in misconduct on that day, will be attached after the issuance of warrant if they don’t turn up by tomorrow.

“Four teams are searching for the erring servitors, who have been identified based on the complaint of the Collector. I want to inform them through the media that legal action will be taken against them. Tomorrow we will urge the court to issue search warrants against them. After this, we will go for attachment of their properties,” Sarangi stated.

The SP warned that harbouring these sevayats will attract legal action.

“We will also initiate legal action against anybody found to be giving shelter to these servitors,” he said adding no one will be spared in the case.

Giving details about the development in the case o far, the police said 15-20 servitors have been identified based on Close Circuit Television Camera (CCTV) footage of the Niladri Bije ritual.

“So far we have been able to arrest two servitors in connection with the case. Nearly 15 to 20 servitors who caused disturbance during the ritual have been identified. Remand petition against the two involved in misbehaving with journalists will be given today,” he said.

The arrested servitors have been identified as Surya Narayan Pratihari and Raghunath Khuntia.

Meanwhile, three of the servitors on the run today knocked on the doors of the Orissa High Court seeking anticipatory bail. They are Damodar Mahasuara, Jayakrushna Mahasuara and Harinarayan Khuntia.

Demanding strong action against the servitors who had misbehaved with Agarwal on Sunday and even allegedly threatened to kill him if he comes in their way, the Non-gazetted Officers’ Association today handed over a memorandum to Sarangi. Yesterday the Officers’ Association had staged a demonstration in the holy city.

In a related development, the Viswa Hindu Parisad (VHP) has sought an increase in the number of members of the Commission instituted to suggest reforms in the management of Sri Jagannath temple.

Addressing the media, VHP Odisha chapter executive chairman Badrinath Pattnaik said, “Instead of one, there should be three members in the Commission to suggest reforms so that various issues can be addressed.”

The right-wing Hindu outfit also demanded suspension of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief Suresh Mohapatra and resignation of law minister Arun Sahoo for failing to execute the Niladri Bije ritual peacefully.