Servitors protest halt to Lingaraj temple rituals, block roads

Bhubaneswar: With no daily rituals being performed at the Lord Lingaraj since Saturday, irate servitors staged a road blockade in front of the temple here this morning demanding early solution to the dispute over the decision of the temple administration not to conduct Handi Bhanga Yatra.

Though the servitors withdrew the blockade after much persuasion, they made it clear that there would be no rituals of the Lord unless the issue is solved.

Talking to OTV, secretary of Brahman Nijog held the Endowment commissioner responsible for such an unfortunate incident.

“Though we had apprised the Endowment commissioner of the ongoing dispute between the Khuntia sevayats and Malia sevayats four months back, he has not taken any steps till date. We demand that unless the Khuntia sevayats, who have been deprived of their services at Kapileswar temple, get back their services, there would be no rituals in the Lingaraj temple,” he asserted.

Expressing resentment over the issue, senior Congress leader Sura Routray said there have been no rituals of the Lord since last three days due to the callousness of the temple administration.

Blaming the Naveen Patnaik government for the imbroglio, he said it is a matter of utter regret that the chief minister is unaware of the incident. The impasse has deeply hurt the sentiments of the devotees who went away from the temple without having the darshan of the Lord today.

Rourtary also came down heavily on the Endowment commissioner for his highhandedness in stopping the Handi Bhanga Yatra.

“What right does the Endowment commissioner have to stop the 700-year old Yatra and on what basis has he deprived the servitors of Kapileswar temple of their services? Instead of taking prompt action by convening a meeting of all nijogs of the temple to ensure smooth rituals of the Lord, he has remained adamant on his stand,” he rued.