For being dalits, President of India, First Lady ‘misbehaved with’ during trip to temple

During their trip to the Jagannath temple in Odisha on March 18, President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind were ‘misbehaved with’. The Puri district administration has initiated an investigation into the matter after 3 months. The Times of India also reported that a group of servitors had obstructed the path of the President on his way to the shrine’s sanctorium.

President Kovind is a Dalit, who are considered to be low castes in India.

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According to the minutes of a meeting by the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on March 20, which had occurred after the Rashtrapati Bhavan had issued a notice in regard with the group’s conduct, the servitors has also pushed the First Lady. IAS officer Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra confirmed the incident.

“We discussed the matter at a meeting of the temple managing committee a few days ago. It is being investigated,” he stated.

Earlier, on March 18, the temple had not allowed devotees from 6.35 am- 8.40 am so that there would be no event of a hassle. The report said that a few officers and servitors were permitted to go inside the temple.

A local daily reported that when the President had walked towards Ratna Singhasana, he had not been provided ‘proper space’. Some servitors had also, according to the daily, ‘nudged the couple’ during the darshan.

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Acknowledging the incident,  the temple administration acted and gave show cause notices to three servitors.

“We can’t understand why the district administration failed to prevent the unpleasant situation. Until now, only common devotees were exploited by the servitors. Now it seems not even the President and his family was spared,”Congress leader Suresh Kumar Routray said, quoted by TOI.

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