Home Daily News Puri Jagannath Temple Incident: Bangladeshi Nationals’ Unauthorized Entry

Puri Jagannath Temple Incident: Bangladeshi Nationals’ Unauthorized Entry

by Nita Mishra

Nine Bangladeshi nationals caused a stir at the Puri Jagannath temple on Sunday evening when they attempted to enter without permission, according to officials from the Odisha Police.

It all began when these nationals were allegedly trying to step into the shrine on Sunday evening. However, their plans were foiled when some temple workers noticed them and asked for their identities. The foreigners then confessed that they were unaware that the temple has a strict rule against non-Hindus entering.

Following this incident, a complaint was lodged at the Singhadwar police station in Puri. Superintendent of Police Pinak Mishra stated that the Bangladeshi nationals have been instructed to remain in Puri until their identities are verified by the police. They have also been asked to cooperate with the authorities. The Puri police have taken their passports and visas for a thorough check, and the reasons for their visit are being investigated.

“The Puri police have reached out to the immigration department and Foreigners Registration Office to ensure the legitimacy of their visit. They will be allowed to leave once this process is complete,” mentioned a senior police officer.

Non-Hindus and foreign nationals are not permitted to enter the ancient Puri Jagannath temple, which is considered one of the four Dhams in Hindu beliefs. This tradition has been followed for centuries, although the specific reasons behind it are not always clear. A sign at the Lion’s Gate, the main entrance of the temple, explicitly states: “Only Hindus are allowed.”

Meanwhile, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has filed a formal complaint at the Singhadwar police station, demanding action against the foreign nationals for breaking the rules outlined in the Shree Jagannath Temple Act, 1955. SJTA Administrator Pradeep Kumar Sahu emphasized that the temple administration is taking this matter seriously. He also announced plans to place signboards in prominent spots, clearly indicating that only Hindus are permitted inside the Jagannath temple.

This incident at the Puri temple isn’t the first time non-Hindus have faced restrictions. In 1984, temple workers famously protested against the entry of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, claiming she had married a non-Hindu. As a result, she had to offer prayers from the nearby Raghunandan Library.

Similarly, in November 2005, Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, during her first visit to Odisha, could only view the temple from the outside because foreigners are not allowed inside. In 2006, Swiss citizen Elizabeth Jigler was also denied entry because of her Christian faith, despite her generous donations to the temple. These incidents highlight the strict adherence to tradition and rules at the historic Puri Jagannath temple.

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