Jagannath sena peeved over BJD MPs statement

Puri: Senior BJD leader and MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra’s statement favoring entry of people from all sects into the famous Jagannath temple here on Monday has drawn mixed response from various quarters.

While Jagannath Sena took exception to Mohapatra’s opinion, various scholars came in support of his statement.

The activists of Jagannath Sena today staged demonstration in front of Jagannath temple and burnt effigy of Mohapatra.

On Sunday during a workshop on tourism organized by Hotel and Restaurant Association of Orissa (HRAO) in the state capital, Mohapatra advocated that if people from all sections of the society—irrespective of case, creed and religion are allowed to enter the 12th century shrine, footfall of foreign tourists and revenue would shoot up by almost 50 per cent.

Reacting to Mohapatra’s statement Pratap Rath Psychologist said, Lord Jagannath is the Lord of Universe and there are no two ways and the universe is above the servitors of Puri. The prevailing laws should change with changing times. 

The entry of non-Hindu devotees into the temple has remained a sensitive issue since long. The servitors resisted entry of people other than Hindus.

"How can Mohapatra make such a statement which hurts sentiments of crores of Hindus? He should withdraw it immediately. As Lord comes out of the sanctum sanctorum during annual Rath Yatra to give darshan to devotees belonging to all the religions, the question of allowing non-Hindus inside the temple does not arise," said Jagannath Sena`s chief Priyadarshi Patnaik.

Sri Jagannath Temple priest Jagannath Swain Mohapatra said, "Pyari Babu should not have made such a statement. It is better for him to withdraw the statement immediately".

Meanwhile, Assam Governor and former Orissa Chief Minister J B Patnaik, on July 5, had advocated for entry of ISKCON devotees into the temple. "The ISKCON devotees should not be prevented from the temple entry for being whites. They are Hindus and read the sacred `Bhagavat Gita` everyday and have set up a number of Jagannath Temples across the globe."

However, Mohapatra was unavailable for comment on the issue.