Bhubaneswar, April 18 (IANS) A servitor of Sri Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s Puri city was on Tuesday detained by the police for opposing the visit of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to the temple.
The Singhadwara police detained Somanath Khuntia, a secretary of Shri Jagannath Sevayat Sammilani (SJSS), ahead of the West Bengal Chief Minister’s visit to Odisha.
SJSS has warned that Banerjee’s visit to the Puri temple would hurt the sentiments of lakhs of devotees of Lord Jagannath because she has made controversial statements favouring consumption of beef.
“We came to know from media reports that she supports cow-slaughter. In July 2016, she said consumption of beef is nothing wrong. We will not allow her to enter Jagannath temple,” said Khuntia.
“Non-Hindus and people consuming beef are not allowed into the temple. We will decide whether to allow the Chief Minister or not for darshan of the trinity only after she publicly makes her stand clear on the issue,” Khuntia added.
On the other hand, senior Puri temple servitor Jagannath Das Mohapatra welcomed Banerjee’s visit to the temple.
“West Bengal is Odisha’s next-door neighbour and our brotherhood is age-old. As she is the Chief Minister of West Bengal, we’ll try our level best to accord her utmost respect and cordial welcome. Disruptive elements have vested interests. By opposing her and resorting to such activities, tourism here is going to be adversely affected,” said Mohapatra.
Banerjee, who will be on a three-day visit to Odisha from Tuesday, is scheduled to arrive in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday evening. She will proceed to Puri and stay there. On Wednesday morning, she will visit Sri Mandir to pay obeisance to Lord Jagannath, returning to Kolkata on Thursday morning.