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Puri’s Jagannath Temple Committee Terms Allowing ‘Non-Hindus’ Sensitive Issue, Says More Consultation Required

On July 5, 2018, SC asked the SJTMC to consider whether it can allow entry of non-Hindus inside the temple. The bench of Justices A.K Goel and S Abdul Nazeer however, clarified that it was a mere suggestion and not an imposition by the court.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:August 20, 2018, 12:48 PM IST
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Puri’s Jagannath Temple Committee Terms Allowing ‘Non-Hindus’ Sensitive Issue, Says More Consultation Required
File photo of Jagannath Temple.
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Kolkata: The Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee’s decision to allow non-Hindus to enter Puri’s Jagannath Temple or not on the basis of Supreme Court’s suggestion, continues to remain pending.

On August 18, the SJTMC held a meeting to discuss the matter but the members failed reach a consensus, deeming it to be a complicated and sensitive issue.

Speaking to News18, Chairman of SJTMC, Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb, said, “The suggestion on whether non-Hindus should be allowed to enter the Jagannath Temple was raised during the August 18 meeting. However, considering its sensitivity and complexity, it was decided by all the members that further discussion and consultation is required in this matter.”

Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb, the King of Puri and the ‘adhyasevak’ - treated as Chief Servitor - of Lord Jagannath said, “We deliberated all the points as suggested by the apex court. Some points were discussed but we haven’t decided on whether non-Hindus should be allowed”

Talking about some of the other issues raised during the meeting, Ram Chandra Das Mahapatra, Sewayat and Managing Committee Member, said, “Besides the decision to undertake more consultation on non-Hindus entry issue, a sub-committee has been set up to look in into the other points made by the Supreme Court including ‘to abolish hereditary appointment of servitors in Jagannath Temple’ and banning servitors from accepting offerings.”

He added that this will be a major problem as servitors are against abolishing hereditary appointment of servitors and the imposition of a ban on accepting offerings.

‘Daitapati Nijog’ - which plays an important role in Jagannath Temple’s daily activities – while opposing the suggestion - threatened to go on a mass movement if non-Hindus were allowed to enter the Jagannath Temple.

General Secretary of ‘Daitapati Nijog’, Binayak Dasmohapatra, said, “There is no question of agreeing to SC’s suggestion. We suspect a conspiracy of bureaucrats behind this. The IPS, IAS community are trying to take control over the temple.
Our emotions and sentiments are attached with this temple. We will not let this happen. If required we will go for a mass movement.”

On July 5, 2018, SC asked the SJTMC to consider whether it can allow entry of non-Hindus inside the temple. The bench of Justices A.K Goel and S Abdul Nazeer however, clarified that it was a mere suggestion and not an imposition by the court.
| Edited by: Zoya Mateen
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