A temple is the center of religious activities of the Hindus. It is all the time a crowded place where the rich rub shoulders with the poor, seeking divine grace. But it is also where criminal activities are conducted in the garb of pious endearments. These include pick pocketing, chain snatchings, eve-teasing, molestation and many more. As luck would have it, the incidents occur directly in proportion to the enormity of the deity that rules the place of worship – bigger the name of the temple, higher would the crime rate. And the worst part of the whole story revolves round the difficulty in on the spot detection and retribution for the offender. However, CCTV cameras can now resolve the issue efficiently and well, while the following paragraphs will indicate some of the major benefits of installing surveillance cameras in temples.
As many as 78 CCTV cameras are now in operation in the Jagannath temple and its surroundings, said Public Relations Officer of Jagannath Temple, Laxmidhar Pujapanda.(PTI | Bhubaneswar | Published: June 24, 2018 7:39:18 pm)
However, a controversy erupted earlier this month when Puri District Collector Arvind Agarwal observed in a temple management committee meeting that there was no information confirming the availability of the keys that were probably lost due to mismanagement.
Incidentally, twenty-three more close circuit television (CCTVs) cameras would be installed inside the premises of Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri for the safety of devotees, a temple official said Sunday. This was decided at the meeting of the Shree Jagannath temple managing committee yesterday under the chairmanship of Gajapati of Puri Dibyasingha Deb, the official said. The move comes in the wake of the Supreme Court directive to improve management at the 12th century shrine. “There are some uncovered areas in the sprawling temple complex which will now be under CCTV surveillance,” said Chief Administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), P K Mohapatra.
>> Surveillance cameras at Bhitara Katha – The Jagannath Temple administration in Puri on Tuesday decided to install CCTV cameras at Bhitara Katha, the final entry point for devotees.
From this point devotees are allowed to have their darshan of Lord Jagannath and the siblings, which is only 30 feet away.
According to Niti administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Pradeep Das, “The cameras will be installed to monitor movement and activities of servitors and devotees inside the temple.”
However, the cameras will not record the rituals of the deities. “We will switch off the cameras during the rituals of the Lord. The sole purpose to install the cameras is to monitor the movements of devotees and the servitors. We will also keep a watch on the interactions between devotees and the servitors,” said an official.
Sources said the administration was forced to consider installing two CCTVs after one devotee from Maharashtra had alleged that two servitors had assaulted him on May 2.
The devotee had alleged that his gold pendent was snatched away over payment of dakshina.
Later, Puri police and the temple administration had launched an investigation into the issue and identified the two servitors responsible for the purported attack. The temple administration had, meanwhile suspended servitors – Somnath Mekap and Madan Khuntia, till further order. Sources said this was not the first incident where servitors had misbehaved with the devotees.
Devotees have thanked the administration for deciding to install CCTV cameras.
“We visit religious places across the country. There is discipline everywhere. The same practice should be adhered here. Once the CCTVs are installed, incidents of such misbehaviour with the devotees will come down,” said defense personnel Bikash Kanungo.