Police detains a devotee from ISKCON for forceful entry to Jagannath Temple

By Subash Mohapatra

PURI: A foreign ISKCON devotee was detained in Odisha’s pilgrim town for allegedly trying to enter into the world famous 12th century shrine of Lord Jagannath here today. Locals alleged that the demand and the defiancy committed by detainee is conspired by ISKCON which has been demanding temple entry since years.

A German citizen identified as Gobinda Debadas was trying to enter the Hindu shrine from the Simhadwar (Lion’s Gate) along the Grand Road this afternoon.

However, a servitor Bamadeb Pujapanda spotted a Non-Hindu foreigner on his way to the temple and stopped him from entering into the temple. The servitor enquired about his nationality suspecting his appearance. He then advised the visitor not to enter the temple as it is prohibited for non-Hindus. Despite this, he didn’t pay any heed and proceeded towards the temple.

“Many non-Hindus have entered into the temple concealing their identity and had darshan of Lord Jagannath. I am a great devotee of Lord Jagannath and also worship at my home in Germany keeping his idol,” Gobinda Debadas expressed.

As altercation ensued for quite a long time and the German national was defiant to enter the temple, the matter was reported to Simhadwar police station where he was detained till the filing of this report.

Gajapati King Dibya Singha Deb of Puri earlier said that there was no restriction on the entry of non-Hindus into temples of Lord Jagannath across the globe, except the 12th century shrine at Puri.

“As Puri is the original seat of the Lord, there is restriction on the entry of non-Hindus into the temple. However, they can have darshan of the Lord in other Jagannath temples elsewhere,” Mr. Deb told.

Stating that non-Hindus can pray from anywhere, he said the restriction on people belonging to other religions have continued at the Puri shrine for a long time.

The restriction on the entry of non-Hindus has been an issue as views are divided. While ISKCON devotees had been demanding entry, the temple administration has denied permission.

ISKCON has been creating since years by sending its affiliates to shrine temple, and the defiant of ISKCON devotee is one of such examples, a local alleged. ISKCON management could not be contacted though several attempts were made by Headlines Everyday.

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