Erstwhile royal arrested for entering temple sanctum sanctorum in Madhya Pradesh
Maharani Jiteshwari Devi of Madhya Pradesh’s erstwhile Panna royal family maintained she was insulted and prevented from performing a ritual as she is a widow
Maharani Jiteshwari Devi of Madhya Pradesh’s erstwhile Panna royal family has been arrested for hurting religious sentiments by entering a temple’s sanctum sanctorum during Janamshthi celebrations even as she maintained police and priests insulted and prevented her from performing a ritual as she is a widow.
A video purportedly showing Devi attempting to perform the ritual on Thursday before getting dragged out and priests accusing her of misbehaving in an inebriated state went viral on social media.
Devi said she was attacked for exposing a scam. “I was insulted and dragged out by the police and temple administration,” she alleged.
Santosh Kumar Tiwari, a temple administrator, said only men of the royal family have been performing the ritual on Janmashtami for the past 300 years. “Jiteshwari’s son was invited to perform it but he did not come. Jiteshwari Devi entered the temple and started creating a nuisance.” He called it unfortunate that a woman from the royal family broke with the tradition and disrupted the aarti of Lord Krishna.
“Even as only men of the royal family use a fan made of white silk thread during aarti, we allowed her to perform this ritual but she started misbehaving. She was in an inebriated state and could not even stand properly. Devotees started objecting to it and we requested her to go out but she fell down. We had to stop the aarti when she tried to touch a flame.”
Panna police superintendent Sai Krishna Thota said Devi came to the temple and tried to create a ruckus. “The temple administration allowed her to perform the ritual during midnight aarti but when she tried to enter the sanctum sanatorium, devotees protested. She started creating a nuisance. She fell down and the policewomen, who were deployed to take care of the crowd, took her away.”
Devi has been booked under the Indian Penal Code’s Sections 295A (hurting religious sentiments) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty).