Row over attack on Odissi dancer may end soon

Row over attack on Odissi dancer may end soon

The controversy surrounding the alleged assault on Italy-born Odissi dancer Ileana Citaristi by two servitors of the Jagannath temple in Puri is likely to come to an end soon as both parties have reportedly agreed to go for a compromise on the issue.

Sources in the Puri temple administration said the agreement between the two parties was reached after one of the two servitors, the prime accused in the incident, visited the dancer’s Bhubaneswar residence on Sunday and tendered an apology. He was accompanied by a few senior priests of the temple.

Talking to newsmen on Monday, Citaristi herself indicated that she was not keen to drag the issue further while confirming the visit of the accused priest and his apology. “As they have already admitted to their mistake, the matter should not be carried forward further. I am now relieved,” she said.

R K Das Mohapatra, president of one of the servitors’ associations of the Puri temple and son of the accused servitor, has also confirmed that an agreement was already made.

The Bhubaneswar-based Odissi dancer, a Padmashree awardee, visited the temple on the last day of the annual Rath Yatra festival on July 21 when she was allegedly manhandled by the two servitors on the chariots of Jagannath. A dispute over “Dakshina” was the alleged reason for the attack.

Following the incident, Citaristi had filed a complaint with the Puri temple administration and Singha Dwara (Lion’s Gate) police station.

The police, after formally registering a case, had begun an investigation and recorded the dancer’s statement on July 23.

The police also sent notices to two senior servitors and office-bearers of a servitors’ association questioning them why they did not inform the police about the incident. Puri Superintendent of Police Anup Sahu said the principal accused in the case has already been identified. DH News Service

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