Amicus curiae offers prayer to Lord Jagannath in Puri, meets officials over temple reforms

Puri: The Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium who arrived in Puri to discuss with various stakeholders over Jagannath temple reforms, today offered prayers to the Lord Jagannath and siblings in the 12th century shrine.

Soon after he reached the temple in full traditional attire, SJTA chief administrator PK Mohapatra welcomed him and escorted him to the temple. He expressed pleasure and felt blessed after having darshan of the deities during Mangal Alati ritual. Later, he recited Veda at Mahalaxmi temple.

As per the latest report, he held discussion with the officials of temple administration at 10 am over the Supreme Court suggestions. He is scheduled to hold meeting with Shankaracharya of Puri Neeschalananda Saraswati at around 11 am and Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb in the evening. He will also join the Puri king in observing Sunia ritual at Sri Naar (King’s palace) today.

Subramanium will discuss with a sections of servitors over various problems of the shrine tomorrow before returning to Delhi.

The Supreme Court, after hearing a petition on June 8 and July 5, had directed the temple administration to implement 12 proposals as a part of disciplinary reforms in the 12th century shrine. Issues relating to abolition of hereditary appointment of servitors, end to collection of ‘dakshina’ by servitors are likely to figure during the talks, sources said. After obtaining the views from the stakeholders, the amicus curiae will submit a report to the apex court.

The Court had taken serious note of the alleged exploitation of devotees by ‘sevaks’ at Jagannath temple and passed a slew of directions to prevent such malpractices and mismanagement.The petition had highlighted the difficulties faced by devotees in the temple and their harassment by the servitors.

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