BHUBANESWAR: Under fire for controversy over missing of Ratna Bhandar (temple treasury) keys, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has drawn ire of the Rashtrapati Bhavan over alleged misconduct by some servitors to the President and his wife. Sources said some servitors of the temple had come close to President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind during their visit on March 18. They allegedly breached the security protocol and shoved them much to the discomfort of the First Lady during the darshan of the trinity - Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra. The matter came to fore after the Rashtrapati Bhavan expressed displeasure over the incident in a communication to the temple administration. The matter was also discussed at a recent meeting of the SJTA where members raised concern over such behaviour.
Meanwhile, the SJTA has ordered a probe into the alleged breach of security protocol and misconduct by some servitors.Administrator of SJTA Pradipta Mohapatra said since it was breach of protocol Collector and SP of Puri have been directed to inquire into the incident and submit a joint report.He, however, denied that the President and the First Lady were misbehaved. "During discussion with servitors it was learnt that some uninvited servitors had come inside the temple that day and one among them had gone close to the President," he clarified.
The minutes (accessed by The New Indian Express) of the SJTA meeting revealed that Rashtrapati Bhavan had raised objections to the behaviour of servitors and expressed displeasure over their act."Many VVIPs are coming to the temple and they facing trouble during darshan of the trinity. While Khuntia Mekap servitors did not move from the corridor during the visit of the President, some servitors nudged him and his wife causing embarrassment," it read.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had also taken serious note of alleged exploitation of devotees by 'sevaks' at the Puri Jagannath temple and passed a slew of directions to prevent any such malpractices and mismanagement.Stating that it is of prime importance to extend all devotees a hassle-free visit, the apex court had directed the Odisha Government to study the management schemes of other important shrines in the country and follow accordingly.