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Nepal priest abused at Puri temple, police suspended

Puri, Jul 24, 2013, DHNS 3:02 IST
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Days after the famous Jagannath temple in Puri hit headlines due to an alleged assault on Italy-born dancer Ileana Citarasti by its servitors, a priest of a royal family has complained of being abused by a woman constable posted there. The accused cop was suspended immediately pending an inquiry.

Madhav Prasad Bhattarai, the visiting priest (“rajguru”) of the Nepal Royal family, has registered a complaint in Lion’s Gate police station in Puri alleging that a woman constable misbehaved with him while he was entering the shrine on Tuesday.

According to the complaint, Bhattarai was walking through the southern gate after being frisked by three policemen. He had taken only a few steps when the woman constable stopped him and started scolding him, presuming him to be a non-Hindu and foreign national. Though a local priest accompanying Bhattarai conveyed to the constable the Nepal rajguru’s identity, she refused to listen.

The incident has turned out to be a major embarrassment for the Puri temple administration as the shrine has a long association with the royal family of Nepal. The king of Nepal enjoys certain special privileges when he visits the temple. Despite being foreigners, Nepalese are allowed to enter the temple because they are Hindus.

The royal priest was in the temple town as a guest of the Shankaracharya of Puri, Swami Nischalananda Saraswati. A spokesperson of the Puri Gabardhan Peeth on Wednesday said the Shankaracharya took strong exception to the incident and demanded immediate action from the Puri temple and district authorities.

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