Missing Keys Row: Dama Doubts Safety Of Ratna Bhandara

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Bhubaneswar: With resentment brewing across Odisha over the missing keys of the Ratna Bhandara of the Jagannath temple in Puri, senior BJD leader Damodar Rout on Tuesday expressed doubt over the safety of the Ratna Bhandara.

Talking to the media persons here, he said as per the clarification by the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) the keys of the Ratna Bhandara were with three persons—the Puri Gajapati King, the Ratna Bhandara in-charge (Bhandara Mekap) and the third with the District Treasury. “Who knows, some of them might have taken out some ornaments of the Lords,” he pointed out.

The BJD leader also expressed surprise over the silence of the Puri Gajapati King. “The temple administration in its clarification has said that one of the Ratna Bhandara keys is with the Gajapati King. But why he has not said a single word on it?” Rout asked.

Commenting on the judicial probe order by the chief minister into the incident, the former minister, while citing the instance of Maikancha firing incident, said the people of Odisha knows how and when the probe commission would submit its report.

“It is due to the clamour by the Opposition parties, the state government has decided to institute a judicial probe into the incident,” he observed.

In his reaction, BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra said the people of Odisha would be relieved if the ornaments in the Ratna Bhandara re-estimated again. “Since the Bhitara Bhandara was opened in 1985, the estimate of the ornaments of the Lords should be done from that year so that the people would know whether the number of ornaments estimated in 1985 is there in the Ratna Bhandara,” Mohapatra said.

He further said though the state government has ordered a judicial probe, it has not announced the terms of reference (ToR) of the probe. Let the state government make the report of the probe commission public to ensure transparency, he added.

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