Bhubaneswar: A 22-member delegation of Chhatisa Nijog met the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here Sunday to apprise him of their position on the Supreme Court’s suggestion July 5 to allow non-Hindus into the Puri Jagannath Temple and to put an end to the heredity system of service by sevayats in the 12th century shrine.
According to reports, Singhari Nijog president Ramchandra Singhari told the Chief Minister that the servitors were opposed to the entry of people of other faiths inside the Srimandir as well as apex court’s suggestion replace the hereditary services of sevayats with appointment of servitors.
After their meeting with Naveen, Singhari told the media, “The servitors apprised the Chief Minister that the Supreme Court did not take their application into account while issuing the recommendations. They also told him that they want the three-member committee formed by the Odisha government in June to look into the matters related to the temple administration to prepare a detailed report and submit it to the apex court before taking a final call on any of the vexed issued”.
Emphasising that the Puri Temple is different from other temples in the country, Singhari said, “While living Gods are worshipped in Puri, only idols are worshipped in other temples. Therefore, it is important to convey the centuries-old system prevailing in Puri to the apex court.”
Singhari went on to add that he would be inviting the amicus curiae, Gopal Subramaniam, to visit Puri during the upcoming Ratha Yatra and witness the traditional rituals followed at Srimandir to understand the history of the Pilgrim Town better.
According to Singhari, a public debate on the issue is extremely necessary before arriving at any decision. “It is important to present the recommendations of the Puri Gajapati, Shankaracharya, Chhatisa Nijog and various other servitor groups before the Supreme Court before the next hearing, which is scheduled for September 5.”
The delegation met the Chief Minister in the presence of Puri MP Pinaki Mishra and MLA Maheswar Mohanty. Later, Mishra told the media, “The CM termed the request of the sevayats fair and reasonable and assured that the government will provide all help to them.”