Puri Srimandir servitors boycott Chhatisa Nijog meeting

Puri: The servitors of Puri Srimandir are now up in arms against Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (STJA) over an affidavit submitted in Supreme Court to limit the number of servitors at the scared shrine.

However, SJTA officials clarified that hereditary rights of the servitors will not be abolished while an affidavit has been submitted to restrict the number of servitors to perform the daily rituals at the shrine.

The move of the SJTA has sparked resentment among the servitors as they alleged that such decision has been arbitrarily taken without any prior consultation with them.

“When all rituals are being conducted smoothly at Puri Jagannath temple, the SJTA had submitted the affidavit in Supreme Court on April 24. In the affidavit, SJTA has proposed to restrict the number of servitors to 36 which is totally unrealistic,” said a servitor.

Servitors further claimed that SJTA has also submitted BD Commission report which is a conspiracy as 36 servitors can never carry out all the rituals and other services at the temple.

SJTA chief administrator, Pradipta Mohapatra said, “SC-appointed Amicus Curiae after visiting Puri Srimandir twice had recommended for limiting the number of servitors. We have already clarified that hereditary rights of the servitors will not be abolished.”

Mohapatra further stated that SJTA in its affidavit has not mentioned to restrict the strength of servitors to any particular number as at present around 90 servitors are engaged to perform various rituals inside the temple. We have asked the Supreme Court to take a decision on the number of servitors and their age either with the help of chief administrator or the district judge.