Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Monday posted a senior IPS officer on special duty to probe the alleged mismanagement in Nabakalebar festival, while the temple administration urged the Crime Branch to take forward the investigation concerning leak of secret ritual pictures on social media.

“We have urged the Additional Director General, Crime Branch, to probe into the pictures/video in circulation on the social media in the name of Lord Jagannath’s Brahma (soul), burial of old idols and some other secret rituals,” Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) said in a statement.

One of the photos on social media. Image Courtesy: Twitter @sarvankarthik6One of the photos on social media. Image Courtesy: Twitter @sarvankarthik6

One of the photos on social media. Image Courtesy: Twitter @sarvankarthik6

The SJTA’s move came after certain “objectionable” and “misguiding” pictures and video were found on social media including Facebook, said SJTA chief administrator Suresh Chandra Mohapatra.

“The photos showing the Pataali (burial) of the old idols in the Koili Baikuntha (divine graveyard) and carving of new idols inside the temple, widely circulated in the social media, are irrelevant and have no veracity and authenticity,” Mohapatra said, adding the Crime Branch has been requested to consider the SJTA’s letter as an FIR.

Rejecting materials posted on social media as Lord Jagannath’s secret ritual, he said, “The picture shown as of Brahma on the social media is actually a picture of a ‘Matshya Salagram’ posted by one Himansu Singhal in YouTube in October 2011. It is not Lord Jagannath’s Brahma as claimed.”

He said SJTA hopes a proper investigation by cyber crime experts could catch the culprits indulged in misleading people and also urged people not to be misguided by such pictures. SJTA’s move for crime branch probe into the episode came amidst allegation that mobile phones had been carried during Lord Jagannath’s ‘Brahma Paribartan’, the most sacred and secret ritual held in the temple on June 16.

In another development, the state government today appointed senior IPS officer and IG (Operations), Soumendra Kumar Priyadarshi, as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) for the festival.

He would oversee all security arrangements, besides coordinating different activities of the Nabakalebar Rath Yatra in Puri on 18 July, a government official said.

This was for the first time in Odisha that an IPS officer was appointed as OSD to manage the temple affairs. Priyadarshi’s appointment was made based on his wide experience in successfully managing Rath Yatras in the past.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked SJTA chief administrator to remain in Puri and ensure a smooth Nabakalebar festival.

“As Mohapatra will give all his time for the festival, Gridco CMD Hemant Sharma is posted as the special secretary in the energy department. Sharma will function on behalf of Mohapatra who is also holding the post of secretary of energy department,” an official order said.

After the success of Congress’ Odisha bandh on June 26,opposition BJP was all set to launch its week-long Shri Jagannath Sanskruti Yatra from tomorrow.

“Our Yatra will start from Puri tomorrow and visit different districts to create awareness among the people on the significance of Shri Jagannath culture and how it has been violated,” senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra said.


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Odisha govt to probe alleged mismanagement at Jagannath temple, leak of secret ritual photos