Location of Jagannath Temple Police Station sparks Tension
BY: DEBABRATA MOHAPATRA
Aug 3, JAGANNATHA PURI, ORISSA The district police's decision to construct the Singhadwar police station along the outer wall of Jagannath Temple has irked the priests and citizens here. Priests apprehend more threat to the temple if the biggest police station in the state, which was inaugurated in June, is built adjacent to the shrine boundary.
As of now the temple police station, with a manpower of more than 250, functions in a dingy room outside the shrine. Priests attribute their apprehension to the rise in Naxal activities in the state, in which cops and police stations were targeted the most by Maoists.
"Even though Puri is not affected by Naxals to date, we cannot say about the future. Maoists seem to be spreading their tentacles in other parts in the state. Police and police stations have been their chief target. Going by the past incidents in the state in which scores of cops were killed, who knows the extremists may attack the Jagannath Temple police station," said Janardana Singhari, a priest. "And if the Singhadwar police station is attacked, then no doubt, the temple wall and Deities' bathing altar will collapse. So it will not be wise to construct the PS close to the temple boundary wall," said Manoj Dasmohapatra, another priest.
Not only from Naxals, the police station may also receive threats from anti-socials in the city. Last year, some miscreants hurled a few bombs inside the Kumbharapada police station in the city. Even though no cop was injured, the incident was pretty embarrassing for the district police. Shockingly, the same police station received an anonymous threat letter a few days ago in which the sender had threatened to blow up the police station. Police officials said that was a prank.
"Those pranks may have some lurking danger. Who can give guarantee? First, it was Kumbharapada police station which was targeted by anti-socials in the city. It may be Singhadwar police station in future. So the police should think wisely," said Badri Mishra, State Convener of Orissa Juba Chetana Sangathan, which gave a memorandum to the director general of police not to construct the police station along the temple wall.
"The Singhadwar police station should be constructed in the opposite side of the temple so that cops can keep an eye on the activities of people. There are so many places available in front of the temple," Mishra said.
Puri additional Superintendent of police Rajat Kanti Mishra said the police department will certainly consider the "concern" of the priests.