About four months after the Supreme Court suggested that the hereditary rights of the servitors to be abolished and ordered that no devotee should be forced to give offerings to them, a priest of the Jagannath temple, Narasingha Pujapanda has submitted a petition to the Chief Justice of India seeking permission to end his life.
“We beg from them, and it has been continuing for more than a thousand years. The court and government are trying to stop our only source of income. How we will survive without income,” Pujapanda mentioned in his petition adding that his only source of income was from the gifts from devotees’ and donations inside the temple as reported by Hindustan Times.
After a petition by Cuttack-based lawyer Mrinalini Padhi the court put forward 12 proposals as reforms for the temple in July announcing the servitors will no longer have any claim on offerings made by devotees and all collections must go the temple ‘Hundi’.
In addition to this, it suggested creating a barricaded queue system for devotees from the entrance and bringing transparency in the temple management.
The same priest, in March, threatened to immolate himself when the Archaeological Survey of India sought a permit from the Orissa High Court to assess the condition of the Ratna Bhandar, the treasury where the gold and other valuables of Lord Jagannath and his siblings are kept in safe custody.
However, the temple authorities acting on the orders of the apex court, have started the barricaded queue system for the devotees on an experimental basis from 1 October.
The court order has given strength to state interference in the administration of temple starting a ‘cold war’ between the former and the temple priests who want to protect their traditional rights.
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