Bangladeshis Who Entered Jagannath Temple Asked To Stay Put In Puri Till Inquiry Is Over

Puri: The five Bangladeshi nationals, who allegedly entered Shree Jagannath Temple on Sunday, have been asked by police not to leave Puri until inquiry into the matter is over.

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The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on Monday lodged a police complaint against the Bangladeshi nationals at Singhadwar police station here for violating the norms under the Shree Jagannath Temple Act, 1955. Only Hindus are allowed to offer prayers in the 12th century shrine.

A group of nine Bangladeshis, including a Hindu, arrived in the pilgrim town of Puri on March 2. Five of them, including a Hindu, went inside the temple on Sunday evening but were stopped at Baisi Pahacha by some temple servitors, who sought their identities. “The Bangladeshi nationals claimed that they were not been aware of the temple’s rule. We have written to the immigration department and Foreigners Registration Office to verify the authenticity and legal aspects of their visit. We have also contacted Bangladesh High Commission and sought information about them and if they have any criminal antecedent,” Puri SP Pinak Mishra told reporters.

They have been asked not to leave Puri till the verification process is completed and to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies, he said, adding that steps are being taken to improve frisking of devotees at the temple entrance.

The SJTA has been asked to install hoardings and banners at prominent locations outside the temple, educating devotees about the tradition. “The temple administration has taken the matter seriously. Signboards will be placed at prominent locations, clearly stating that only Hindus are allowed inside the Jagannath temple,” said SJTA Administrator (Development) Pradeep Kumar Sahu.

In 1984, the servitors famously opposed the entry of Indira Gandhi inside the temple, citing her marriage with Feroze Gandhi, a Parsi. She was forced to offer prayers from nearby Raghunandan Library.

 

 

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