Monday, January 19, 2009

No row over Minister’s visit


16 Jan 2009 02:55:02 PM IST
BHADRAK: The administration today put to rest the controversy surrounding the visit of Women and Child Development Minister Pramila Mallick, a Dalit, to the Akhandalamani temple at Aradi, 35 km from here, yesterday.‘‘There was neither any objection from the servitors’ association nor from the management committee of the temple on the Minister’s visit,’’ said Deputy Sub-Collector, Bhadrak, Sadhu Charan Sahu. Even no purification ritual was carried out after the Minister’s departure, Sahu confirmed.He conducted an inquiry after some sections of the media termed the visit as controversial. He also clarified that there is no bar on entry of Dalits into the temple. Pramila visited the famous Lord Siva temple on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. ‘‘The Minister arrived at the temple at 7.30 am, offered ‘bhog’ and puja through her family priest and left. Neither any objection was raised nor any purification of deity was carried out,’’ said Bhibhudutta Mishra, a servitor.‘‘According to the decision of the temple’s management committee I was the main priest on Makara Sankranti day and had accompanied the Minister and her family priest to the temple,’’ added Bibhudutta.According to Parameshwar Panda, family priest of Pramila, she visits the temple every year and sometimes even more than once in a year. There is no caste feeling nor any prohibition on the entry of Dalits.Not only Pramila, local MLA Netrananda Mallick, a Dalit, also visits the temple very often and goes through the route meant for servitors, Panda said and added even Bhadrak ADM Upendra Mallick, also a Dalit, went inside the temple and offered his ‘Rudrakhya’ puja.Sub-Collector and Chairman of the Temple Trust Board Bibhuti Bhusan Das said, ‘‘The servitors have intimated me in writing that there was no objection to the entry of the Minister nor any purification ritual was carried out. Like every day, Mahasnana (ritual bath) was done four times. No special Mahasnana was done after the departure of the Minister.’’

Above is in response to TOI's report

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