Devotee on chariot: Servitor suspended

Puri: Artatrana Pratihari, the ‘Pratihari’ servitor of Shree Jagannath temple, was suspended by Srimandir administration on charges of helping a woman devotee to climb the Nandighosha chariot on Tuesday.

The temple’s administrator Suresh Mohapatra told media that the action was taken against the servitor under Section 21(B) of Srimandir Administration Act.

Further, he stated a notice has been served to Lord Jagannath’s chief servitor (badagrahi) Jagannath Swain Mohapatra for not stopping the devotee to climb onto the chariot.

Notably, the ‘Pratihari’ servitor had taken the woman devotee along with him onto the chariot during ‘Adapa Pahandi’ of the deity on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in his reaction, Lord Jagannath’s chief servitor said as the badagrahi of the deity the ‘Srianga’ rituals are his responsibility, not taking care of the ‘Charamala’ or ladder of the chariot.

He added the police and administration should have ensured that no devotees could mount the chariots.

Last year, the Orissa High Court had ruled that no devotees should be allowed to climb the chariots and touch the deities during the annual Rath Yatra in Puri.