Violence Hits Holy Town

For the first time Holy Town Puri experienced violence of worst kind, which has not only traumatised the devotees but also the tourists, who came all way to visit 12
th Century Shrine on 3 October.

Both policemen and devotees were injured as violence broke out here on Wednesday during a 12-hour bandh called by Shree Jagannath Sena(SJS), protesting introduction of a queue system for devotees visiting ShreeJagannath Temple, the Police said.
 The dawn-to-dusk shutdown in the seaside town called by SJS turned violent as a mob barged into the 12th century shrine, uprooted barricades erected on Baisi Pahacha and near Singhadwara and ransacked the office of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), a cop informed.
The protesters ransacked a Police Outpost and Information Centre near the Singhadwara as well as the Town Police Station, besides burning tyres and indulging in stone pelting, they said.
 While around nine police personnel were injured in stone pelting, many structures suffered extensive damage in the mob attack, prompting the police to use mild force in order to control the situation, a senior police official said.
Soon after the queue system was introduced in the temple on Monday on an experimental basis, SJS had given a call for Puri bandh to oppose the move.
DGP R P Sharma said that situation in Holy City is under control as the District Administration has opened dialogue with the agitators and discussion is going on.
IGP Central Range, Soumendra Priyadarshi rushed to the troubled zone and held discussion with SP Sarthak Sarangi and Collector Jyoti Prakash Das.
The agitation turned violent after the police picked up SJS Convener Priyadarshan Patnaik and held him under preventive detention.
Asserting that the stir would be further intensified, Mr.Patnaik said the manner in which the new system was introduced had hurt the sentiments of a large number of devotees.
 Angry over Mr.Patnaik’s detention, activists of Jagannath Sena and locals held a demonstration demanding the immediate release of the leader. They also blocked the The Grand Road by burning tyres in a number of places.
 The agitators allegedly pelted stones at the residence of the District SP and Minister, Revenue & Disaster Management, Maheswar Mohanty police said.
 Normal life was crippled in the holy town as shops and business establishments as well as educational institution were shut, while traffic came to a halt with protesters holding picketing and blockade at many places, police said.
Adequate police force was deployed in order to restore normalcy in the pilgrim town where the situation remained tense, the police said.
An official said the queue system was introduced on an experimental basis and a review would be done as locals and servitors opposed it.The Peace Committee was convened under chairmanship of Puri Collector Mr.Das.
Before joining the meeting, Mr.Das said steps were taken to bring the situation under control and prevent any further flare up.

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