VIP treatment to PCC chief in Lingaraj temple draws flak

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Niranjan Patnaik has drawn criticism for getting a VIP treatment during his visit to Lingaraj temple here on Friday.

According to allegations, Patnaik was escorted into the temple’s garbhagruha or the sanctum sanctorum by a group of servitors though the sahana mela darshan was suspended for devotees during that time.

Aggrieved, some servitors reportedly captured the incident on the mobile phones and later uploaded the clip on social media.

Official sources said the timing of sahana mela darshan is between 6.30 am and 9.30 am every day while PCC chief visited the temple after 10 am today.

“In temple everybody is equal and no one should be given special treatment. Strict action should be taken against those who violate the norms,” said Brahman Nijog secretary, Biranchi Narayan Pati.

Following the controversy, Niranjan Patnaik stated that he was not aware of the timings. He just accompanied the servitors who escorted him into the temple.
“When I went to the temple, some servitors took me to the temple and at that time many others were also offering puja inside,” said Patnaik.

Lingaraj temple administration, on the other hand, informed that an inquiry would be conducted and action taken against the servitors for violating the norms.

“The allegations have come to our notice and after a detailed inquiry, we will submit a report to Temple Trust Board for appropriate action,” said Administrative Officer of Lingaraj Temple Trust Board, Rajiv Lochan Parida.

Bramhan Nijog has demanded stern action against those involved in the incident. Some servitors have also demanded a probe into mobile phones being taken inside the temple.

Earlier Union Minister Vijay Goel had invited trouble for posting photographs of the sanctum sanctorum (Garbhagruha) of Lingaraj temple on Twitter in April this year.

Similarly, Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon too had faced music for shooting an advertisment inside Lingaraj temple in March.