PURI: Puri Police nabbed a youth suspected to be involved in the vandalism of earthen stoves in the kitchen of Srimandir, SP K Vishal Singh said on Tuesday night. In a tweet, the Puri SP said the youth was apprehended by IICs of Baseli Sahi and Town police basing on CCTV footage inside Srimandir. The detained youth was identified as Jagan Mahapatra of Deuli village in Khurda district. Police nabbed him from his village.
Earlier, a police team comprising five senior officers was formed to nab the miscreant involved in vandalising at least 43 chulhas (earthen stoves) used for cooking Mahaprasad in the kitchen of Shri Jagannath temple on Saturday night.
After the youth was spotted in the footage of CCTV camera, his photo was shared with all police stations. Police also questioned four personnel of Jagannath temple police (JTP) who had driven the youth out of the shrine complex on Saturday night.
The JTP personnel revealed that they found the youth inside the temple compound and evicted him at around 1.15 am. The CCTV footage had shown the JTP personnel escorting the youth out of the temple through Simhadwar. It is believed that the kitchen was vandalised before 1 am and the temple security guards were unaware of it.
As per tradition, after Badasimhar ritual and closing of the sanctum sanctorum, JTP personnel search the temple complex to clear all humans from the shrine premises. If any devotee is found sleeping in the compound, they are escorted out. This exercise is called ‘Sodha’.
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), which is conducting an internal inquiry into the incident, has asked the four JTP personnel to explain the cause of dereliction of duty, within three days.
On the day, Puri Collector Samarth Verma and Singh visited the police control room at Simhadwar. Verma said security in and around the temple has been tightened.