Row over fake servitors climbing onto chariots during Ratha Jatra in Odisha’s Puri

Bhubaneswar: Some people allegedly climbed onto the chariots in the guise of Srimandir servitors and touched the deities during the recently concluded Ratha Jatra in Odisha’s Puri city.

The ‘fake’ servitors reportedly took photos and made reels on the chariots of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra and uploaded the same to their social media accounts in violation of the existing norms, sources said.

The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) had imposed a ban on the devotees’ access to the chariots during the annual Ratha Jatra some years ago. Similarly, the devotees are forbidden to touch the deities on their chariots during the mega festival.

As per the guidelines, only the on duty servitors are allowed to climb onto the chariots for performance of various rituals.

The police and personnel of Jagannath Temple Police Service have been instructed to enforce the guidelines strictly and prevent any non-servitor to climb onto the chariots.

“The state government had deployed several platoons of police force led by senior officials for smooth conduct of the Car Festival in Puri. Despite the heavy security deployment, some people climbed onto the chariots in the guise of servitors and touched the deities. This is an issue of security breach. We hope that the authorities concerned would take the issue seriously and take appropriate action in this connection,” said a social activist.

Notably, senior Daitapati servitor Ramkrushna Das Mahapatra recently expressed his displeasure over the presence of quite a few non-servitors on Nandighosa, Taladhwaja and Darpadalan chariots during this year’s Ratha Jatra.

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