Jagannath Temple stakeholders to hold meeting ahead of amicus visit
Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth, Puri, Swami Nischalananda Saraswati, has convened a meeting of all stakeholders to discuss the problems plaguing the Sri Jagannath Temple here for the past few years, the seer's spokesman said Wednesday. The meeting would be held on February 17, ahead of Supreme Court appointed Amicus Curiae Ranjit Kumar's visit to Puri on February 22 over a case related to the administration of the 12th-century shrine.
The Shankaracharya has invited Gajapati Maharaja of Puri Dibyasingh Deb, who is considered the first servitor of Lord Jagannath, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Orissa High Court Chief Justice Kalpesh Satyendra Jhaveri, Law Minister Pratap Jena and officials of Puri district administration to the meeting, Gobardhan Peeth spokesman Manoj Rath said. Jagannath Temple Managing Committee officials and senior servitors of the temple would also be a part of the meeting, Rath told reporters.
He said the Shankaracharya is of the view that lack of proper coordination among the state administration, temple management committee and servitors has led to a "chaotic situation" in the 12th-century shrine. Rath said the meeting will discuss issues such as "gross irregularities" committed in the 'Brahma Parivartan' ritual during the Nabakalebara festival in 2015, opening of the temple's treasury - the Ratna Bhandar - in 2018 amid protests, disappearance of the Ratna Bhandar keys, violence in Puri during a bandh protesting introduction of queue system for devotees visiting the temple.
The Shankaracharya's meeting is being organised ahead of Amicus Curiae Ranjit Kumar's visit to Puri for two days starting February 22. During the visit, the senior lawyer will hold the discussion with the Sree Jagannath Temple Administration officials, the Gajapati Maharaja, and the servitors on the implementation of the reform proposals suggested by the Supreme Court.
He will later submit a report in this regard to the apex court. The Supreme Court on January 9 appointed Kumar as amicus curiae to assist it in a matter related to administration of Jagannath temple in Puri.
Kumar's appointment to assist the apex court followed a petition filed highlighting the difficulties faced by the devotees at the temple and their alleged harassment or exploitation by the 'sevaks' of the temple.
(With inputs from agencies.)