Under fire for controversy over missing of Ratna Bhandar (temple treasury) keys, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has drawn ire of the Rashtrapati Bhavan over alleged misconduct by some servitors to the President and his wife.
Sources said some servitors of the temple had come close to President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind during their visit on March 18 to the 12th-century shrine.
They allegedly breached the security protocol and shoved them much to the discomfort of the First Lady during the darshan of the trinity - Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra.
The matter came to fore after the Rashtrapati Bhavan expressed displeasure over the incident in a communication to the temple administration. The matter was also discussed at a recent meeting of the SJTA where members raised concern over such behaviour.
Meanwhile, the SJTA has ordered a probe into the alleged breach of security protocol and misconduct by some servitors.
Administrator of SJTA Pradipta Mohapatra said since it was breach of protocol Collector and SP of Puri have been directed to inquire into the incident and submit a joint report.
He, however, denied that the President and the First Lady were misbehaved. "During discussion with servitors it was learnt that some uninvited servitors had come inside the temple that day and one among them had gone close to the President," he clarified.
The minutes (accessed by The New Indian Express) of the SJTA meeting revealed that Rashtrapati Bhavan had raised objections to the behaviour of servitors and expressed displeasure over their act."Many VVIPs are coming to the temple and they facing trouble during darshan of the trinity. While Khuntia Mekap servitors did not move from the corridor during the visit of the President, some servitors nudged him and his wife causing embarrassment," it read.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had also taken serious note of alleged exploitation of devotees by 'sevaks' at the Puri Jagannath temple and passed a slew of directions to prevent any such malpractices and mismanagement.
Stating that it is of prime importance to extend all devotees a hassle-free visit, the apex court had directed the Odisha Government to study the management schemes of other important shrines in the country and follow accordingly.
Historic data reveals below nine Famous Personalities Denied Entry Into Jagannath Temple In Puri.
Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi & Acharya Vinoba Bhave When Mahatma Gandhi came to Puri in 1934 accompanied by Vinoba Bhave and Muslims, Christians and dalits, he was denied entry into the temple.
B R Ambedkar, Father of Indian Constitution Father of Indian Constitution was barred from entering the Sri Mandir when he visited Puri in July, 1945.
Nobel Laurate, Rabindranath Tagore Rabindranath Tagore, a Pirali Brahmin by birth, a poet, novelist, playwright, was denied entry into the temple for darshan.
Swami Pravupada, founder ISKCON movement In 1977, Bhakti Vedanta Swami Pravupada, the founder of ISKCON movement, had visited Puri. His devotees were not allowed to enter the temple and he was warned against making an attempt to step into the temple.
Lord Curzon, Former British Viceroy of India The British Viceroy of India from 1889 to 1905, deeply enthusiastic about Indian history, archeology and geography. He was not allowed into the temple when he visited Puri in 1900.
Indira Gandhi, Former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, former prime minister was not allowed to enter the 12th century shrine because she was married to a Parsi, Feroze Gandhi.
Queen of Thailand Mahachakri Siridharan In 2005, Mahachakri Siridharan, the Queen of Thailand, was not allowed inside the temple as she was a follower of Buddhism.
Elizabeth Jigler (highest donor to the temple) In 2006, the shrine did not allow a citizen of Switzerland named Elizabeth Jigler, who had donated Rs. 1.78 crore to the temple because she was a Christian.