Student says priest hugged her, temple says no evidence

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Panaji, July 18 (IANS) The management of Shree Mangueshi temple has said it could not come across “dependable evidence” after a Goan-origin medical student in the US complained of inappropriate behaviour by a priest in June.

In her complaint to the managing committee of Shree Manguesh Devasthan in South Goa’s Mangeshi village, the young woman said she visited the temple on June 22 with her parents.

“He (priest) came to the locker area (outside the sanctum) and on the pretext of asking me to take ‘pradakshina’, he beckoned me to come near and put his arm around my shoulders. He then proceeded to tightly hug me and attempted to kiss me,” she said in her complaint to the temple committee.

She said she was “traumatised and repulsed” by such conduct.

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“As part of investigation… the committee must review the footage of June 22,” she said, adding that she was so shocked that she could reveal the incident to her mother only after they returned to Mumbai.

In response, Shree Manguesh Devasthan Secretary Anil Kenkre on July 11 wrote to her that her complaint was discussed at an emergency meeting of the managing committee on July 4.

“During the enquiry, the committee could not lay hand on any dependable evidence to establish a prima facie case…,” Kenkre said, and urged her to take up her grievance with an “appropriate authority”.

When contacted, Kenkre told IANS: “The temple committee has replied to her. That is the end of the matter.”

Shree Mangueshi temple, home to Lord Manguesh who is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva, is one of the most visited temples in the state by tourists and locals alike. Several influential Gaud Saraswat Brahmin clans are followers of the temple deity.

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–IANS

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