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Srinath Jena | HENB | Puri | April 18, 2017:: Ahead of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s visit to Puri, some sevaits of the Jagannath temple in the city are protesting against her coming here for reportedly opposing Mamata’s alleged ‘beef eating’ habit and her stand to ‘support Cow slaughter’.
A faction of the sevaits at Puri’s Jagannath Temple feel that Mamata has stood by those who eat beef and hence they are raising questions on her being allowed inside the temple.
Police on Tuesday detained a few priests of Jagannath Temple in Puri after they threatened to oppose West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s scheduled visit to the 12th century shrine on Wednesday morning. Mamata is expected to reach Puri on Tuesday night for her three-day visit to Odisha.
The servitors said they are angry with Mamata for allegedly supporting consumption of beef. “We came to know from media reports that she supports cow-slaughter. In July 2016 she said consumption of beef is nothing wrong. It indicates she consumes beef. We will not allow her to enter Jagannath Temple,” said a detained priest Somanath Khuntia, who is also the secretary of Sri Jagannath Sevayat Sammilani (SJSS), an association of some priests of the temple.
SJSS has warned that Banerjee’s visit to the Puri temple would hurt the sentiments of lakhs of devotees of Lord Jagannath because she has made statements favouring consumption of beef.
Clean and pious hearted people are only allowed to enter the shrine, said Khuntia.
“Non-Hindus and people consuming beef are not allowed into the temple. We will decide whether to allow the CM or not for darshan of the trinity only after she publicly makes her stand clear on the issue,” Khuntia added.
On the other hand, BJP state president Basant Panda has said Puri temple is open for all Hindus. “Mamata Banerjee can also seek the blessings of Lord Jagannath,” Panda added. There are other sevaits who are all set to welcome her.
Daitapati Sevak of Jagannath Temple Swain Mohapatra said, “Mamata Banerjee will arrive at Puri temple. I will welcome her by giving Khandua. Mamata will stay at the temple for around an hour. Those who are protesting against her visit are not projecting the shrine in the correct light.”
Meanwhile, the district administration and police have tightened security ahead of her visit.
“Beef Eating is my Fundamental Right: Mamata Banerjee”…. Exposed by Rajiv Dixit.
“We detained him and some of his association members for questioning. Since the WB chief minister is a ‘Z Plus’ protectee, we have arranged adequate security for her. She is likely to have darshan of the deities at Puri temple on Wednesday morning. But we have not been informed about the exact time of her visit to Jagannath Temple. She will decide the time after reaching Puri tonight,” SP (Puri) Sarthak Sarangi told TOI. The Trinamool Congress supremo is scheduled to arrive at Biju Patnaik International Airporthere at 8.55 pm on Tuesday. She will proceed to Puri by road and stay overnight at the special circuit house.
Mamata is scheduled to depart from Bhubaneswar on April 20. During her stay in Odisha, she is likely to meet chief minister Naveen Patnaik. Talks are doing the rounds that she may meet her party MP and close aide Sudip Bandopadhyay at Jharpada special jail in Bhubaneswar. Sudip and TMC MP Tapas Pal were arrested by CBI in connection with Rose Valley chit fund scam.
In 1984, Indira Gandhi was not allowed to enter the temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri because she had married a Parsi, Feroze Gandhi.