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SC restricts entry of armed police personnel in Puri's Jagannath temple after protests against queue system turned violent

The Supreme Court on Wednesday took note of the 3 October violence at Puri's Jagannath temple and said that no policeman should enter the temple armed and wearing shoes. The violence had broken out during a protest against the introduction of a queue system for devotees, which was being tested that day.

The court order comes on an application was filed by petitioner Debasish Misra, who alleged that the police entered the temple with guns, which resulted in violence in the temple premises. A two-judge bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta also sought responses within two weeks from the Odisha government, the amicus curiae in the case — former Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanium — the petitioner and the temple administration.

 SC restricts entry of armed police personnel in Puris Jagannath temple after protests against queue system turned violent

File image of the Jagannath temple in Puri. Wikimedia Commons

The Odisha government told the Supreme Court that 47 people had been arrested in connection with the violence at the Jagannath temple in Puri on 3 October. The state also asserted that there was no violence inside the Jagannath temple, but the office of the temple administration was attacked and ransacked.

Nine policemen were injured in the clashes that broke out during a 12-hour strike called by socio-cultural organisation Sri Jagannath Sena in protest against the introduction of a queue system for devotees visiting the Jagannath temple.

According to the Odisha police, the dawn-to-dusk shutdown in the seaside town called by the Sena turned violent as a mob barged into the 12th Century shrine, uprooted barricades erected at the Baisi Pahacha (the inner gate of the temple) and near the Singhadwara (the main entry) and ransacked the office of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration.

The protesters also ransacked a police outpost, an information centre near the Singhadwara as well as the town police station, besides burning tyres and indulging in stone pelting, the police had said.

While around nine police officers were injured in stone pelting, many structures suffered extensive damage in the mob attack, prompting the police to use mild force to control the situation.

The Jagannath Puri temple administration had introduced the queue system on an experimental basis. A temple official said they will review the decision as local resident and devotees were opposed to it.

With inputs from PTI and 101 Reporters

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Updated Date: Oct 10, 2018 13:33:27 IST