No disrespect to First Lady, no communiqué from Rashtrapati Bhawan: SJTA

While the SJTA has clarified that there was no communique received from the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Suara Mahasuara Nijog has filed a complaint against the administration alleging that the SJTA and district administration is pulling the servitors in order to defame them..

Puri: In a major development, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) today clarified that it has not received any communiqué from the Rashtrapati Bhawan regarding misbehaviour to the First Lady in Puri Srimandir.

Reportedly, three servitors were accused of not maintaining distance and dashing against First lady and wife of President Ram Nath Kovind, Savita Kovind during her last visit to the 12th century shrine at Puri in March this year.

Clarifying on the matter, SJTA chief administrator Pradipta Mohapatra said, “The SJTA has received no communique from the Rashtrapati Bhawan regarding misbehaviour to the First Lady in Srimandir. So there is no need for further discussion on this matter.”

Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi too avoided speaking on the subject any further. “As the SJTA chief administrator has already clarified on the issue, there is no need to have any further discussion on this,” he said.

On the other hand, Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi said, “Before President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to the temple on March 18, the Rashtrapati Bhawan had shot a letter to the Collector in which it was clearly mentioned that he will not sign on any writings and also directed to implement adequate security measures. The servitors were also notified regarding this. However, a few of them still breached the inner cordon and tried to meet the President. Later, we had submitted a report on this matter to the SJTA.”

As per reports that surfaced in media, the Administrative Committee Meeting of Puri Srimandir held on March 20 discussed on the severe lapses and misbehaviour shown towards the President and the First Lady and the objection raised by Rashtrapati Bhawan.

However, with the SJTA and Chief Secretary both stating that no communiqué was received, the temple managing committee has now questioned on what basis the matter was discussed and mentioned in the meeting report.

Meanwhile, Suara Mahasuara Nijog president Damodara Mahasuara has lodged a police complaint against Puri Collector Arvind Agarwal and former SJTA chief Pradeep Jena alleging that the administration is intentionally trying to defame the servitors.

Mahasuara alleged, “They were trying to offend us before the whole nation and fully prepared to take action against us. We have lodged a written complaint against the former temple administrator and district collector.”

Binayak Dasmohapatra, Assistant Secretary of Daitapati Servitors’ Union said, “This is an effort to defame the President of India and to defame all the servitors. Instead of poking into all such things, they should concentrate to conduct the Rath Yatra smoothly.”