Bhubaneswar, Dec. 17: Anticipating devotees’ anger over printed pictures of Lord Jagannath on undergarments, being marketed by an US-based online retailer, the Orissa government today decided to take up the matter with the American Embassy and the Centre.
“The matter has come to our notice as it has hurt the sentiments of many devotees. We will draw the embassy’s attention to the matter and seek its intervention,” said the law minister, Biswa Bhusan Harichandan. The government has also decided to urge the Centre to impose a ban on selling such products. “We are examining the legal aspects and contemplating action,” he added.
The site offers, among many other items, custom-made “Hindu” T-shirts, doggy dresses and underwear with pictures of Ram, Kali, Ganesh or Mahatma Gandhi.
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“People should boycott products, which represent gods, goddesses and national heroes in such a drogatory manner,” said Harichandan.
The matter came to the fore when Sri Jagannath Sena, a Puri-based social organisation working for the “protection” of Jagannath culture, filed an FIR at Puri town police station against the website — CafePress.com — for a “vulgar representation” of Lord Jagannath.
CafePress.com specialises in providing customised products on demand.
The Sena convenor also said: “Such representations hurt our religious sentiments.” Puri inspector Alekh Chandra Pahi said the police have registered the FIR.
In a related development, the administration at Jagannath temple has decided to take up the matter of “untimely” rath yatras by Iskcon devotees both here and abroad.
“The temple tradition and ritual does not allow multiple yatras round the year. It is held only on the second day of the fortnight of Ashadha (June- July). We will take up the matter with Iskcon authorities. If they don’t refrain from holding yatras round the year, we will be compelled to move the court,” said the temple’s chief administrator, S.C. Mohapatra while talking to The Telegraph.
The temple servitors would also organise a protest rally in Puri on December 14 in this matter.