SC Orders No Policeman To Enter Puri’s Jagannath Temple With Weapons And Shoes

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ordered as it took note of the October 3 violence during a protest against the introduction of a queue system for devotees that no policeman should enter Puri’sJagannath temple with weapons and shoes.

Nearly 20 policemen were injured as violence broke out during a 12-hour bandh called by a socio-cultural organisation on October 3. The Odisha government had last week implemented the first step ordered by the top court — a queue — for pilgrims as part of the action plan that has been opposed by some local organisations.

One of them, JagannathSena, had last week called for a Puribandh when protesters vandalised a police outpost outside the temple, pelted stones at the district police chief’s house and ransacked two offices of temple.

At a meeting between the district administration and priests later, it was decided that local devotees of Puri town won’t have to queue up and will be allowed entry to the temple through the other three gates after producing identity cards. However, people from rest of the country have to queue up, officials said.

On Wednesday, a lawyer, representing an organisation that has filed an application for intervention in the matter, alleged in the Supreme Court that during the violence, policemen had entered the temple with guns and boots on.

“Last time, in the Golden Temple, the Army had entered. We know that,” the counsel said. The bench then asked the counsel appearing for the Odisha government, “Tell us, is it a fact that police has gone there with guns and all?”.

The Odisha government’s counsel termed the allegations as “absolutely false” and said no policeman had entered the temple as the incident had taken place at the office of the Shree Jagannath temple administration, which is situated around 500 metres from the main temple.

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