The opposition BJP Monday launched an agitation across Odisha hitting out at the BJD government in the state for the missing keys of the Ratna Bhandar of Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri. As part of the stir, christened as “Jan Jagaran” campaign, party activists staged demonstration in different district headquarters and sub-divisional towns, a senior party leader said.
Slamming Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for remaining silent on the issue, BJP state unit president Basant Panda alleged that the judicial inquiry ordered into the matter was aimed at diverting people’s attention.
The state government has constituted a judicial commission headed by retired Orissa High Court judge Raghubir Dash to probe the circumstances under which the keys of the inner chamber of the Ratna Bhandar of the 12th century shrine in Puri went missing.
BJP workers would stage a similar protest in different areas of the state for a week, BJP state unit vice-president Samir Mohanty said.
A controversy erupted earlier this month when Puri District Collector Arvind Agarwal observed in a temple management committee meeting that there was no information confirming the availability of the keys.
On April 4, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration had made an attempt to open the inner chamber of the Ratna Bhandar (treasury) for inspection. But they could not open the room for non-availability of the keys and had to return after peeping into the chamber through a broken window.
The Supreme Court had on June 8 said it was of prime importance that all devotees had a hassle-free visit to the Jagannath temple and the offerings made by them were not misused.