Lingaraj Temple Servitor Arrested In Bhubaneswar For Misbehaving With Foreign Woman

Bhubaneswar: A sevayat (priest) of Shree Lingaraj Temple in Odisha capital was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly misbehaving with a 28-year-old Swedish woman outside the shrine.

The accused, identified as Kundu Mahapatra (24), was arrested in connection with the incident, which took place on Monday evening, on the basis of a complaint lodged by the foreign national at Lingaraj police station.

According to the complainant, Mahapatra approached the Swedish woman while she was taking photographs outside the temple and offered to be her guide. He took her to a watch tower from where she caught the view of the shrine, which is off limits to non-Hindus. The servitor then took her to a small temple nearby and asked her to close her eyes and offer prayers. Mahapatra then tried to touch her inappropriately. When she resisted, he hurled abuses at her, sexually harassed her and tried to outrage her modesty, police sources said.

“Raid were conducted to nab the sevayat who on the run following the incident which took place when the woman from Sweden was roaming alone near the Lingaraj Temple,” Bhubaneswar DCP Prateek Singh told the media.

He has been booked under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 354-A (sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), he added.

Sources further said that Mahapatra is a habitual offender. He was arrested on July 9, 2023, for allegedly molesting and extorting money from a domestic tourist near the temple and was granted bail recently.


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