Baba Ramdev’s comment that everyone, irrespective of caste, creed and nationality, should be allowed in to the Jagannath Temple in Puri has earned the wrath of some groups in the temple town.
Members of two organisations on Friday burnt the effigies and posters of Baba Ramdev in Puri, about 70 km east of Bhubaneswar, in protest against his remark and demanded an apology from him. They even lodged a complaint in the local police station demanding his arrest.
“Ramdev should preach yoga and should not interfere in things he has no knowledge about,” said Priyadarshan Pattnaik, convenor of Jagannath Sena, which organised the protest along with Jagannath Sevayat Sammelani, a body of the temple priests.
Patnaik said the restriction had been an age-old practice, in accordance with scriptures. “Besides, Lord Jagannath himself comes out of the temple during Rath Yatra to give audience to all. So where is the discrimination?” he asked.
Ramdev visited Puri on Wednesday. He aired his views when pointed out by reporters that there was restriction on entry of non-Hindus and also a section of Hindus into the temple. “Anyone who visits the temple in full faith should be allowed into the temple, which is abode of Lord Jagannath or lord of the universe,” the baba said.
In the recent years, there were several instances of people, mainly foreigners, from other religion and so-called low caste, being driven away by priests in a humiliating manner from the temple.