Nine policemen in Odisha’s Puri were injured when they were pelted with stones on Wednesday during a 12-hour bandh. The shutdown was called to protest against a queue system introduced for devotees visiting the Jagannath Temple, PTI reported.
Members of a socio-cultural outfit called the Shree Jagannath Sena called the strike and staged violent protests, according to Odisha TV. Protestors burned tyres, blocked Bada Danda – a road leading up to the temple – and hurled stones at the residence of Superintendent of Police Sarthak Sarangi. A few protestors also barged into the home of legislator Maheswar Mohanty and damaged the property.
According to the police, protestors walked into the 12th-century shrine, turned over barricades and ransacked the office of the Shree Jagannath temple administration.They also also ransacked a police outpost and an information centre.
The protest reportedly turned violent after the police detained the outfit’s convenor Priyadarshan Patnaik. “We are ready to die for Lord Jagannath,” Odisha TV quoted Patnaik as saying. “The protest will continue in the future as well.”
Patnaik said the manner in which the new system was introduced had hurt the sentiments of a large number of devotees, reported PTI.
Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained shut in Puri, while traffic was halted as the demonstrators blocked roads at many places.
Puri Collector Jyoti Prakash Das said steps have been to control the situation and prevent any further flare up.
The Jagannath temple administration introduced the queue system on Monday on an experimental basis. Several devotees, however, jumped the queue and entered the shrine in groups the day it was introduced, according to The Times of India.