Police begins probe into assault on Odissi dancer

Bhubaneswar: Odisha police on Tuesday began a probe into alleged physical assault by priests on Odissi danseuse and Padmashree Ileana Citaristi during the car festival of Lord Jagannath on Sunday.

A two-member team from Singhadwar police station in Puri met the Odissi exponent at her residence here and recorded her statement for about 90 minutes.

"The police came here to verify the facts mentioned in the FIR," Ileana told reporters here.

She said that the priests of Sri Jagannath Temple needed to be educated and trained about how to behave with devotees.

The Italy-born Odissi dancer was allegedly manhandled on Lord Jagannath's chariot by some priests who demanded Rs 1,000 from her.

Hurt over the incident, she had submitted a written complaint with the temple administration and the Puri SP.

Meanwhile, the temple administration has issued showcause notices on two servitors of Daitapati Niyog for 'indiscipline' and delay in rituals of Bahuda Jatra, the event for the return of the chariots.

Niyog President Ramakrushana Das Mohapatra and secretary Premananda Das Mohapatra have been asked by the temple administration to submit their replies within seven days.