Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on Monday expressed their discontent over the vandalisation of over 40 earthen ovens at the Jagannath temple in Puri. Taking to his Twitter handle, Pradhan said the incident has made him sad and upset. "Lord Jagannath is the centre of faith and trust for the people of Odisha and of the Hindu community all over the world," he said. The 'Mahaprasad' has a unique relationship with the 12th century shrine and it is associated with Oriya sentiments. It is unfortunate that the kitchen has been ransacked which has disrupted the preparation of Mahaprasad, he stated. "The state government and the temple administration should take this matter seriously and take necessary steps so that such an incident does not get repeated in the future," Pradhan said.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said in a tweet, "This is very painful... more than 40 earthen stoves of Shri Jagannath Mandir in Puri have been clandestinely damaged due to which age-old traditions have come to an abrupt halt. This is a matter of concern, not only for every Odia but every Hindu as well!" Slamming the Odisha government for the incident, Patra said that security arrangements at the temple are under question today. The BJP leader also urged the state government and the temple administration to uphold the sanctity of Odia pride, the Jagannath temple. Speaking to mediapersons, Puri Collector Samarth Verma said, "An internal inquiry is going on and we have also lodged a complaint with the police in connection with the incident. All concerned officials and temple servitors have ensured that there is no disruption in the conduct of temple rituals." The footages of CCTVs installed inside the temple are also being examined, Verma added. Meanwhile, Puri SP K.V. Singh informed that the police are treating the case as top priority and a five-member team has been formed to probe the matter. "Anyone involved in this incident will be detained and action will be taken as per the law," Singh said. According to sources, over 40 out of 240 'chullahs' (earthen ovens) were found damaged when the doors of the 'Roshaghara' (kitchen) was opened on Sunday morning. The 'Roshaghara' of the Jagannath temple is the largest kitchen in any shrine in the country and entry into it is prohibited for outsiders.More than 500 'sevayats' are involved in the preparation of 56 types of food which can feed one lakh devotees every day.