Ritaul fiasco: Suspended priest demands polygraph test of others

Bhubaneswar: Suspended for allegedly causing disturbance during Lord Jagannath’s ‘Brahma Paribartan’, Puri temple priest Kashinath Dasmohapatra today demanded polygraph test of all the nine ‘daitapati’ priests present during the conduct of the secret ritual last month.

“I have done nothing wrong. Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has been blaming me for no fault of mine. As other Daitapati priests are not revealing truth, a polygraph test is required to be done on them,” 80-year-old Dasmohapatra said.

He was speaking after other Daitapati priests involved in the rituals refuted allegation that all of them have touched and seen the Brahma (life substance) of the deities.

Dashmohapatra had earlier said that he along with other priests had touched and seen the Brahma during the secret rituals conducted in connection with Nabakalebara.

According to tradition, priests performing Brahma Paribartan (transfer of life substance from old idols to new ones) should be blindfolded in the midnight of Amavashya (new moon). However, the ritual was conducted during the day time on June 16 instead of on June 15 night.

Dashmohapatra and his son Jaykrushna were suspended by SJTA which found they created disturbance during the ritual.

Though he was not among the four selected priests to participate in Brahma Paribartan, Dashmohapatra allegedly with the help of his son forcibly entered the secret hall and participated in the ritual despite being opposed by others.

They were therefore suspended from the Daita seva as per provision of section 21-B of the Shri Jagannth Temple Act, 1954, said SJTA chief administrator Suresh Chandra Mohapatra.

Three other daitapati priests Krushnachandra Dasmohapatra, Biswanath Dasmohapatra and Nabakishore Dasmohapatra in their statements before SJTA had said yesterday that they had not seen or touched the Brahma as claimed by Dashmohapatra and his son.

Gajapati Maharaj of Puri Divyasingha Deb said Brahma Paribartan is the most secret ritual of Lord Jagannath.

“Persons who revealed facts on Brahma outside should be booked under the provision of the Shri Jagannath Temple Act, 1954,” the Gajapati Maharaj said.

Meanwhile, SJTA which had been conducting an investigation into the cause of delay in the conduct of Brahma Paribartan, has recorded the statements of two other priests today while three more daitapati priests were summoned to depose on July 6.