Normalcy restored in Puri after agitation over temple queues

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Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri
Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri. (Photo : Arabinda Mahapatra/IANS)

Odisha Director General of Police (DGP) R.P. Sharma said normalcy had been restored in Puri after an episode of violent protests against the introduction of a queue system at the Jagannath temple.

He appealed to the people to maintain law and order and said stern action would be taken against the persons involved in vandalism at the temple.

“Protesters have caused large-scale damage to several offices, including a police station. The police will take stern action against the hooligans,” said Sharma.

The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) said two FIRs have been filed against the persons involved in vandalism at the temple.

SJTA chief administrator Pradipta Mohapatra said that Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium has sought a report over the incidents of violence during the Puri shutdown against the queue system.

“The incident has brought a bad name for the temple servitors and people of Puri. A detailed report in this regard along with video footage will be submitted to the amicus curiae by tomorrow,” said Mohapatra.

The 12-hour dawn-to-dusk shutdown in protest against the queue system for ‘darshan’ in Jagannath temple turned violent on Wednesday.

In the queue system, which was introduced on an experimental basis from October 1, the devotees have to enter through the lion gate, and after having ‘darshan’ of the deities, they have to exit through three other gates.

The irate mob had attempted to barge into the shrine, dismantled the barricades erected near the temple and ransacked SJTA’s office.

Inspector General (Central Range) Soumendra Priyadarshi said the matter had been sorted out after the district administration had a meeting with the peace committee.

It was decided that the local devotees would be allowed into the temple through the north, south and the west gates on showing the Aadhaar or other identity cards. However, the queue system will continue for the devotees coming from other places.