iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Indo-Asian News Service
Buubaneswar, July 22, 2013
A day after an Italy-born Odissi dancer was attacked and abused by two priests in Puri, police on Monday launched a manhunt to nab the culprits.

Police officers are gathering information to find out what exactly had happened. Efforts are on to identify the priests who misbehaved with 55-year-old Padma Shri awardee Ileana Citaristi, district superintendent of police Anup Kumar Sahoo told IANS.

"Since she has not mentioned the priests, we are trying to ascertain their names," said Sahoo, adding police may also go for an identification parade of the suspects.

The incident occurred when she climbed atop a chariot, parked before the 12th century Jagannath temple, to pay obeisance to Lord Jagannath.

A priest allegedly beat her when she refused to pay Rs. 1,000. Two priests also abused her and forced her off the chariot.

"I was beaten on my head. I was shocked," Citaristi told reporters.

In her complaint, she also said the priests shouted at her, saying she was a foreigner (non-Hindu) and so could not climb the chariot.

Citaristi who has been staying in Odisha since 1979 was conferred the Padma Shri in 2006 for her contribution to Odissi dance.