NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday took note of the October 3 violence at Puri's Jagannath temple during a protest against the introduction of a queue system for devotees and said no policeman should enter the temple with weapons and shoes.
Nearly 20 police officers were injured as violence broke out during a 12-hour bandh called by a socio-cultural organisation on October 3. The Odisha government had last week implemented the first step ordered by the top court — a queue — for pilgrims as part of the action plan that has been opposed by some local organisations.
A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta was informed by the Odisha government that 47 persons were arrested in connection with the violence in the temple and the situation was under control now.
At a meeting between the district administration and priests later, it was decided that local devotees of Puri town won’t have to queue up and will be allowed entry to the temple through the other three gates after producing identity cards. However, people from the rest of the country have to queue up, officials said.
On Wednesday, a lawyer, representing an organisation that has filed an application for intervention in the matter, alleged in the Supreme Court that during the violence, policemen had entered the temple with guns and boots on.
The bench then asked the counsel appearing for the Odisha government, "Tell us, is it a fact that police has gone there with guns and all?"
The Odisha government's counsel termed the allegations as 'absolutely false' and said no policeman had entered the temple as the incident had taken place at the office of Shree Jagannath temple administration which is situated around 500 metres from the main temple. The counsel added that the administration's office was attacked by the mob and destroyed several files lying there during the violence.
The bench asked the counsel appearing for the parties to file their responses to the plea filed by the organisation seeking to intervene in the matter.
During the hearing, the state government told the bench that situation there was under control and no violence had taken place inside the temple premises.