There seems to be no end in sight to the dispute over dry prasad (dala bhog) among different sections of priests in the 11th century Lingaraj temple.
Servitors of Pujapanda, Badu and Suar Nijogs have been claiming their rights over dala bhog.
Even as daily rituals in the temple have been hit several times in the past over the issue, servitors of Pujapanda Nijog - one of the 36 nijogas (services) - on Thursday threatened to abstain from performing their part of ‘nitees’ demanding government intervention into the problem. “We have sought the intervention of Endowments Department and temple administration to sort out the problem by October 27.
If none of them comes out with a clear notification on this by then, we will not participate in any of the rituals,” said secretary of Pujapanda Nijog, Sachikant Pujapanda.
He further added that although the problem has been taking a toll on the temple rituals, neither the temple administration nor the government is taking the matter seriously. “There is no proper deployment of servitors inside the temple,” he said.
This comes in the wake of Monday’s incident when rituals at the temple were disrupted for two hours following conflict between Pujapanda, Suar and Badu priests staking claim over dala bhog.
Prior to that in August, the rituals were hit for over nine hours over the same issue.
While Pujapanda priests said they enjoy the sole right of performing puja of dala bhog offered by devotees, Badu and Suar Nijogs disputed it.
Earlier, while the Endowments Commission had permitted Pujapanda priests to deal with dala bhog,
Badu priests moved the Orissa High Court and got a stay on the Commission’s order.
Temple’s executive officer Abanikant Patnaik said the temple administration had been holding talks with servitors of all the three Nijogs for smooth management of the rituals. “Since the matter is sub judice, we cannot do much about it now,” he added.
The temple has been witnessing frequent quarrels among the sevayats for a long time. A servitor was killed on August 8, last year, following violence between two groups.