Puri priests refuse to perform ritual in protest
Puri: Protesting the police action during
Lord Jagannath rath yatra that left 24 people injured,
agitated priests refused to perform the "Pahandi" ritual for
taking the deities into Gundicha temple.
Two days after their journey from the 12th century
shrine, the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and
their sister Devi Subhadra were stranded as priests refused to
do Pahandi, demanding stern action against policemen
responsible for the lathicharge.
However, other rituals were performed by the priests
and servitors on the three chariots outside Gundicha temple,
considered aunt`s house of the trinity.
To end the deadlock, the sevayats or priests held a
marathon meeting of their own after which their
eepresentatives were likely to hold talks with the
administration, sources said.
Expressing hope that the "Pahandi" ritual would be
held soon, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said action had
already been taken against four police personnel who were
suspended in connection with yesterday`s incident.
Gajapati Maharaja of Puri, Divya Singh Deva also
appealed to the sevayats to perform the Pahandi ritual and
asked Sri Jagannath Temple administration to make proper
arrangements for smooth conduct of Rathyatra festival.
At least 24 people -- 10 priests and 14
devotees-- were injured in cane charge by police to control
the surging crowd atop `Nandighosh`, the chariot of Lord
Jagannath at Gundicha temple yesterday.
The incident took place when the police tried to
control the large number of devotees jostling atop the wooden
chariot to watch the `Abakash` ritual of Lord Jagannath,
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