Tytlers temple visit raised in Assembly for second day

Bhubaneswar: Noisy scenes were witnessed in the state Assembly for the second day on Tuesday over Congress leader Jagdish Tytler`s recent visit to Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh (Cong) said, "If Naveen Patnaik claims that every bone of his is secular he should stop using religion for politics."

A section of BJD MLAs, mostly from Puri district, had yesterday said Tytler`s visit to the 12th century shrine on March 16 had hurt the religious sentiments of the local people and the priests as he was a "non-Hindu".

As verbal duels went on in the Assembly over it, Singh questioned the basis of the BJD MLAs claim that Tytler was a "non-Hindu" and said it was "baseless".

Replying to his charges, BJD MLA Pravat Tripathy said none should have any doubt that BJD was a secular political party and alleged that Tytler had violated the age-old tradition of the temple.

"Tytler is a main accused in the 1984 Sikh riot.

Therefore, he could not be a Sikh as claimed by Congressmen here," Tripathy said. BJD youth wing president and MLA Sanjay Dasburma said that Tytler had converted to Christianity. "I got the information by web searching," he claimed.

"Tytler had taken leadership to eliminate Sikhs in the 1984 riot. Therefore, we do not accept him as a Sikh or a Hindu," BJP MLA Jaynarayan Mishra said, blaming the state government for the killing of VHP leader Laxamananda Saraswati in Kandhamal in 2008.

Meanwhile, Tytler, who arrived here during the day on his second tour to the state since taking charge of Odisha a fortnight ago, said that he was a Hindu.

"It is foolish to raise questions on my religion. I have visited Jagannath temple four times earlier and no one had objected to it," Tytler said at the airport here.

Terming claims that he was a "non Hindu" as "silly and foolish", Tytler said, "It is a clear sign that the ruling BJD is disturbed over charges of corruption levelled by me against the state government."