BARIPADA: Servitors of Haribaldev Jew temple staged a hunger strike to protest the shrine administration’s failure to fulfil their various demands on Thursday, October 7, 2021. The priests are demanding a temporary rest house for Supakaras (cooks), arrangements for performing daily rituals smoothly and proper care of the dismantled chariot logs by the temple authorities.
Kameswar Tripathy, an agitating servitor, said the authorities had demolished a rest-house used by the Supakaras for the renovation of the temple. The cooks engaged in the temple are facing difficulty now as they have no place to take rest.
Recently, the daily rituals of the Trinity were affected due to shortage of ‘khali’ (leaf plates). The shortage was met after the servitors took up the issue with the temple authorities. “We want the authorities to put in place a permanent measure which would help servitors to perform daily rituals of the Trinity without any hassle and in time. If there is repeat of such a situation, the Trinity might go without food,” Tripathy said.
Besides, the Mandir Mutt Suraksha Samiti and some local devotees had approached Baripada Sub-Collector and the temple’s endowments officer Anya Das for preserving the logs used in the chariot. However, no steps were taken to preserve the logs which are rotting under rain and sun, in the open, he claimed.
“We had met the Sub-Collector five days back and even submitted a memorandum. However, our issues are yet to be resolved,” Tripathy added. On the first day of the hunger strike, no official from the district administration met the agitating servitors. “We have decided to perform a ‘yajna’ in front of the Sub-Collector’s office in protest,” the servitors said. Contacted, Mayurbhanj Collector Vineet Bhardwaj said he will direct the Sub-Collector to address the servitors’ issues immediately.