Puri temple servitor detained for threatening to oppose Mamata's visit

Report by: 
Durgadas Bandopadhyay
Bhubaneswar
18 Apr 2017

The Odisha Police today detained a  servitor of the Jagannath Temple for allegedly threatening to oppose West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's visit to the shrine. Mamata is scheduled to visit the Jagannath Temple on Wednesday.

Servitor Somanath Khuntia had reportedly claimed that the other servitors were unhappy about the West Bengal chief minister entering the shrine because of her support towards consumption of beef. According to sources, Khuntia stated: "We came to know from media reports that she supports eating beef. It is against our culture and traditions. She should not be allowed to enter the Jagannath Temple. We will oppose her visit to the shrine."

However, other servitors said that the West Bengal chief minister was welcome to visit the Jagannath Temple as it is open to all Hindus. Police eventually detained for questioning, superintendent of police Sarthak Sarangi said.
The TMC supremo is on a three-day visit to Odisha from today.  Arya Kumar Gyanendra, the state convenor of TMC, claimed that Banerjee's Odisha visit was "purely personal" and had nothing to do with politics.

Mamata is likely to meet her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik during her visit. The possible meeting assumes significance as both the ruling parties in West Bengal and Odisha have been entangled in the chit fund scam which is being investigated by the CBI. The TMC supremo is also scheduled to visit ailing TMC MP Sudeep Bandopadhyay, who was arrested by CBI in connection with Rose Valley ponzi scam. Bandopadhyay is currently undergoing treatment at a top private hospital in Bhubaneswar.