Bhubaneswar: Normalcy has been restored in the Holy City after an episode of violent protests against introduction of a queue system for darshan of deities at Srimandir, Director General of Police (DGP) Rajendra Prasad Sharma said Thursday.
He appealed to the people to maintain peace and said stern action would be taken against those involved in vandalism at the temple.
“Protesters have caused large-scale damage to several offices, including a police station. The police will take stern action against the hooligans,” said Sharma.
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief administrator Pradipta Mohapatra said two FIRs have been lodged against the persons involved in vandalism at the temple. Police will take action against them.
Mohapatra said that Supreme Court-appointed amicus Gopal Subramanium has sought a report over the incidents of violence during the Puri shutdown against the queue system. A detailed report in this regard along with video footage will be submitted to the amicus curiae by Friday, he added.
“Whatever happened yesterday (Wednesday), it’s a very sad incident for Puri. It was beyond our expectations. The incident has brought a very bad name for the people and Sevaks of Puri,” the chief administrator said.
“These kinds of incidents occur when hooligans indulge in such type of activities. Those who were organising the bandh had no control over themselves. However, persons involved in the incident will be identified from video footages and police will take action against them,” he stated.
A decision was taken to implement ‘Dhadi Darshan’ system on an experimental basis and the government is also open to further suggestions for implementation. Even, the servitors were also allowed to enter and exit through all four gates. There was no need for such fracas, he added.
Notably, the 12-hour dawn-to-dusk shutdown in protest against the queue system turned violent Wednesday.
In the queue system, which was introduced on an experimental basis from October 1, the devotees have to enter through the Lions Gate and exit through three other gates after having ‘darshan’ of the deities.
The irate mob had attempted to barge into the shrine, dismantled the barricades erected near the temple and ransacked SJTA’s office.
Inspector General (Central Range) Soumendra Priyadarshi said the matter has been sorted out after the district administration had a meeting with the peace committee.
It was decided that the local devotees would be allowed into the temple through the north, south and the west gates on showing the Aadhaar or other identity cards. However, the queue system will continue for the devotees coming from other places.