Odisha

Pilgrims Demand Puri Temple Servitors Should Amend Etiquette

**Puri**: Days after Judicial Panel recommended stringent action against those involved in indiscipline inside the Jagannath Temple in Puri, pilgrims across the State who came to visit the 12th Century Shrine, demand temple servitors should behave decently, especially with women visitors.

Devotees feel the temple priests sometimes turn unruly and use filthy language, which is not at all acceptable inside the temple.

“Most of the time the language used by priests inside the temple is intolerable and one can feel odd if he or she is with family members. The temple administration should take notice of it and act tough,” alleged Ashwini Kumar Parida from Rourkela.

He also feels uncomfortable when a group of servitors approach when one enters into the temple. “One priest should approach a pilgrim as it gives the feel of being attacked when a group of priests all of a sudden come to us and start enquiring about our plans,” Parida added by saying the Government should provide identity cards to them.

Another woman visitor from Cuttack, Abni Gandhi, said the security inside the temple should be stepped up.

“We feel very safe up to the entrance of the temple, but there is a chance of misbehavior by the males as there are no separate lines in front of the deities,” Gandhi urged.

She also demanded that the temple administration should create awareness among people to make this place very safe for one and all.

Some visitors are of the view of fixing CCTV cameras inside the temple in order to avoid the untoward incidents.

“If CCTV cameras would be installed inside the temple then it will be easy for police to locate the culprits, especially those who harass woman devotees,” said Reena from Cuttack.

On the contrary, the temple servitors said they never encourage any form of indiscipline inside the shrine.

Servitors also demand that the State Government should keep in mind that the priests not to lose their traditional job during implementing reforms.

“As a servitor, I am saying that we never tolerate any indiscipline inside the temple. But, my request is the Judiciary Panel and Government should protect the basic rights of servitors while recommending reforms,” said Damodar Pratihari, a temple priest.

Another servitor put it interestingly by saying: “We are called servitors because we serve. And, a devotee comes to visit the deities not us.”

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