Enraged over the alleged attempt to replicate presiding deity Sri Kurmanatha Swamy’s idol a couple of days ago, devotees pelted stones at priests and temple staff, injuring head priest Muralikrishna and leading to tension at the temple here on Monday.
Police used mild force to disperse the crowd to bring the situation under control, even as the temple authorities promised to probe the issue and initiate necessary action against the culprits.
A few days ago, a businessman from Chennai came to the seaside abode of the Lord, 13 km from Srikakulum and entered the sanctum sanctorum of the 800-year-old temple. He was allegedly ushered in by Muralikrishna. He took measurements of the idol to make a wax mould allegedly for creating a replica. The temple executive officer Prasad Patnaik was away on leave at that time.
The incident came to light on Monday morning after a vernacular daily reported it. The news spread fast in nearby villages. Villagers gathered at the temple in a sizable number and gheraoed the head priest and demanded an explanation from him. After heated arguments, angry villagers threw stones at him, injuring him in the eye.
Several devotees were also hurt when police rushed to the spot and resorted to lathicharge to disperse the mob.
Later, Muralikrishna explained to mediapersons that the businessman came to him and said he wanted to sponsor silver plating of the idol, for which he required measurements. “As the temple executive officer was on leave then, he promised to take necessary permission later,” the priest claimed. When contacted, Prasad Patnaik told reporters that he would probe the incident and initiate action against the guilty.