Published On: Tue, Jul 19th, 2016

Six Jagannath Temple priests arrested, nine suspended | BST

Hours after police arrested six servitors on charge of attacking journalists, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration today placed nine priests under suspension for violating the ban on climbing the chariots and “misbehaving” with the district collector on Sunday night.

“The action has been taken based on the evidence of the CCTV footage of the Niladri Bije. The nine servitors have been suspended from duty under clauses A and C of section 21 (B) of Sri Jagannath Temple Act 1954,” Suresh C Mohapatra, the chief administrator, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration, said.

Mohapatra said disciplinary action would be taken soon.

He said suspended servitors included Damodar Mahasuar, the senior priest who had allegedly abused Puri district collector Aravind Agarwal and defied the Orissa High Court order by taking his daughter onto the chariots.

The other suspended servitors are: Ipsita Pratihari, Rabi Das, Rabi Khuntia, Bhagirathi Khuntia, Jaykrushna Mahasuar, Saina Khuntia, Bhimsen Palankadhari and Kashinath Khuntia.

Meanwhile, the six arrested servitors – Bapi Khuntia, Shankar Palankdhari, Bipin Patri, Papun Mohapatra, Baban Khuntia and Madan Khuntia – who allegedly attacked journalists during Niladri Bije rituals, have been sent to judicial custody after the court of the sub-divisional judicial magistrate rejected their bail plea.

Puri collector Arvind Agarwal had yesterday lodged two FIRs with the SP Sarthak Sarangi against the six servitors, who had allegedly abused him and even threatened to kill him during Niladri Bije of the deities on Sunday night.

The six servitors against whom the FIRs have been lodged by the District Collector are Damodar Mahasuara, Jayakrushna Mahasuara, Bhimsen Palankdhari, Rabi Das, Ipsit Pratihari and Saina Khuntia.

Meanwhile, a woman ASI on duty near chariot on Sunday, has lodged a fresh FIR against a group of servitors who allegedly misbehaved with her.

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