In the News:
Indonesians Driven Out of Jagannath Temple

by The Times of India

Posted November 15, 2007

7 Nov 2007, 1557 hrs IST,PTI

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PURI: Three Indonesian nationals, who had entered the Sri Jagannath Temple here, were driven out of the shrine on Wednesday morning by the priests and handed over to police, who later found them to be Hindus.

The three, including two women, were spotted during 'Mangala Aarti', a ritual performed daily when temple doors open, the priests said.

Police verification showed the Indonesians were accompanied by Mahabahu Das, a local ISKCON devotee, they said.

Police inspector in-charge of the temple Gyana Ranjan Mohapatra said the three were later found to be Hindus and were released after they produced their travel documents.

The foreigners were identified as I Gusti Made Krisiasis, Adraina Ash and I Made Arjana and are part of a 15-member team from that country on a trip organised by ISKCON, police said.

Non-Hindus, even ISKCON devotees are not allowed to enter the 12th century shrine and a board at the main gate of the temple says only "Hindus are allowed entry inside".

President of Sri Jagannath Seva Samilanee (a body of priests) Damodar Mahasuara said all ISKCON devotees mentioned Hinduism as their religion in their passports and demanded proper verification of foreigners when they come to the temple.