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Oppn tries to pressure BJD on the 2018 probe report regarding the mystery of the missing keys at the Puri temple

The Opposition, which has been calling for the report to be made public, has launched its most recent attacks in response to the Orissa High Court’s recent directive asking the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government to respond regarding the status of a judicial inquiry commission report regarding missing keys of the inner ratna bhandar (treasure house) of the Puri Jagannath Temple.

On April 25, the High Court ordered the Chief Secretary and Law Secretary to submit the government’s response to a petition brought by Puri-based social activist Dilip Baral. The next hearing is set for July 10th.

Since then, the BJD has come under attack from the opposition. A prominent BJP leader, Pitambar Acharya, has argued that the state government should inform the public of the actions done in response to the report’s conclusions.

“Why is the state administration not opening the inner chamber even after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) noted that urgent restoration work is required in its affidavit to the Orissa High Court? People also question the security of the priceless ornaments kept in the ratna bhandar, Acharya said.

“Since the ASI, the custodian of the shrine, has mentioned the need for repair of the ratna bhandar, the government should immediately open it so that the ASI can take stock of its safety and begin repair work,” said Ganeswar Behera, chair of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee’s (OPCC) media department.

Behera continued, “By withholding the report of the inquiry commission, the BJD government further fueled the doubt about the safety of the ratna bhandar.” He also asked for a new inventory of the treasure house’s contents because it is unknown how many and in what condition the priceless ornaments are kept there.

The 12th-century shrine’s ratna bhandar has an outer and an inner chamber. During the Suna Besha, a ritual that takes place during the yearly Rath Yatra and other occasions, the outer chamber, which has three keys, is frequently opened to retrieve ornaments for the sibling deities.

The three outer chamber keys are in the possession of the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), Bhandar Mekap, the servant who looks over the treasure, and the former royal family of Puri, who oversaw temple operations for years.

The inner chamber’s contents, whose keys have been lost, are not known to the general public. The last inventory of Ratna Bhandar, according to accounts, was completed between May 13 and July 23, 1978.

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