Police initiates criminal proceedings against 20 people for security breach during July 12 Rath yatra

Puri, Jul 18 : Five more people were identified by the Puri police inside the prohibited area during the car festival on July 12 last, taking the total number to 20 against whom criminal proceedings have been initiated.
The city DSP Janardhan Padhi told newsmen that all the twenty were booked in the criminal case for violating the curfew norms.

He said all the 20 people were served notice to appear before the police to explain their presence in the Rath cordon.

In the meanwhile one Ranjan Patra appeared and claimed that he is a bonafide servitor and a pass was issued to him by the temple administration, the DSP said adding his name has been deleted from the list.

This apart from the scanning of CCTV, live TV coverage by I&PR, Drone camera footage are being analysed by the police to find out unauthorized persons inside the security cordon around the three chariots on the Rat yatra day.

The lawyers of Puri Bar, social activists and devotees are peeved over the partisan attitude of police on initiating action against the intruders.

They alleged that while little action was taken by police against a mine owner from Dhenkanal, a contractor from Bhubaneswar and a music director from Cuttack who were present inside the prohibited area of Rath cordon.
Although the people have been identified, the police are yet to prosecute them in the case.

This apart many other unauthorised powerful persons who were also present have been identified by the people during the live telecast of the car festival proceedings.

The residents have demanded a thorough probe into the issue and legal actions against those who facilitated their entry into the cordon.

The Puri administration has put the entire city under curfew for 48 hours and residents of houses along the Badadanda were asked not to go to the rooftop or balcony to watch the pulling of chariots.

The government has banned the entry of devotees in the 3 km long Grand Road, the venue of the Puri Car festival on July 12 last and allowed only the servitors to pull the three chariots strictly following covid protocols.

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