Controversy erupts after social media influencer promotes development works around Puri Jagannath Temple

The State unit of BJP alleged that roping in of a social influencer, who is involved in promotion of beef eating, is an act of violation of law 

Updated - December 22, 2023 01:11 pm IST

Published - December 22, 2023 12:26 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR

A major controversy erupted as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticised the Naveen Patnaik Government’s promotion of development around Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri alleging that a social influencer involved in the promotional video was advocating consumption of beef.

V.K. Pandian, the bureaucrat-turned-politician, who recently joined Biju Janata Dal (BJD) uploaded a video in social media. The video featuring social influencer Kamiya Jani was shot on campus of Shree Jagannath Temple, which is fulcrum of Hindu faith,” said Jatin Mohanty, BJP general secretary.

Mr. Mohanty alleged , “the video has hurt sentiment of followers Sanatan faith and Hindu religion practitioners as there is a visual proof of Ms. Jani eating beef and she had herself admitted it.”

“As per practice of Shree Jagannath Temple, a beef eater cannot enter the temple until he or she purifies and repents through rituals. The ruling party has hurt feelings of Hindus by facilitating her entry into the temple,” he said.

“As per section 295 (A) of IPC, a person is liable for punishment if he or she hurts religious sentiments. Moreover, Section 30 (A) of The Puri Shree Jagannath Temple (Administration) Act 1952 says a person would invite punishment if he or she takes prohibited item into the temple. The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration must initiate criminal proceedings including arrest warrant against Mr. Pandian and Ms. Jani,” demanded the BJP leader.

Mr. Mohanty further criticised that Ms. Jani had spoilt all rituals and practices of Shree Jagannath Temple by entering the premise. He said BJP would seek court’s intervention if the temple administration failed to take actions against the two.

Reacting to BJP’s criticism, the BJD said the saffron party was levelling unsubstantiated allegation out of jealousy. “The Parikrama project around Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri is appreciated across Odisha and India. The State unit of BJP cannot digest it. The BJP leaders have resorted to smearing campaign,” said BJD spokespersons.

They said there was no truth in the statement that video was shot on campus of Shree Jagannath Temple and ‘Mahaprasad’, offering of Shree Jagannath Temple, was consumed on campus of Radhanallav mutt.

“Earlier, the BJP leaders tried to stall Parikrama Project. They could not succeed. After two years of uninterrupted works, the project is going to be materialised on January 17. The BJP has again resorted to its dirty tricks for their narrow political consideration,” the BJD said.

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