Odisha: Clamour for reopening 4 gates of Srimandir for devotees gets louder; signature campaign launched

Bhubaneswar: The clamour for reopening all the four gates of Jagannath temple in Odisha’s Puri city for the devotees is growing louder day-by-day.

Devotees, servitors of the 12th century shrine, locals, intellectuals, social activists and elected representatives have urged the state government as well as the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration to facilitate smooth darshan of the deities by reopening all the four gates of Srimandir.

The servitors and local intellectuals had raised the issue during a coordination meeting for this year’s Ratha Jatra. Sources had then claimed that the state government and the SJTA may take some positive decisions in this regard soon after the completion of the annual mega festival.

However, the authorities concerned are yet to do anything in this regard even though 15 days have elapsed since the completion of Ratha Jatra on July 1.

To press for the reopening of four gates of Srimandir for devotees, Sachetana Nagarik Manch, a voluntary organisation, today launched a signature campaign at the Lions’ Gate of the 12th century shrine.

“Earlier, devotees were allowed to enter and exit Srimandir through its four gates. A few years ago, the SJTA laid a set of new guidelines and asked the devotees to enter the shrine through the Lions’ Gate. The three other gates of the temple were virtually closed for the people. This has caused inconveniences for the devotees as they are being forced to wait in queues to visit the shrine,” said Sachetan Nagarik Mancha convener Prasanna Das.

The outfit has planned to collect at least 1 lakh signatures and approach Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to reopen the four gates of Srimandir for the people. The outfit has also threatened to stage a hunger strike over the issue, sources said.

The devotees, meanwhile, urged the Srimandir Managing Committee to take the issue seriously and deliberate on it at the earliest.

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