The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Caste test at temple door

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 30: Three weeks after denying entry to three Hindu Indonesians to the Jagannath temple in Puri, five citizens of the same country were not allowed to step inside the 12th century shrine by its priests.

Chief administrator of the Jagannath temple Suresh Chandra Mohapatra told The Telegraph the Indonesians had sought permission to enter the temple producing copies of their passport, which identified them as Hindus. But the servitors were not convinced, as they could not answer queries regarding their caste or gotra.

“We will soon take a policy decision regarding the entry of foreigners, who claim to be Hindus,” said the chief administrator.

According to tradition, only born-Hindus are allowed inside the ancient shrine.

Temple sources said five Indonesian nationals between 26 and 35, accompanied by Iskcon devotee Bhakti Purushottam Swamy, had met police officials yesterday seeking permission to enter the temple.

Inspector in charge of town police station Alekh Chandra Pahi said since their passport mentioned them as Hindus, the police allowed them to enter the temple. Now it is all up to the temple administration, he added.

The five Indonesian nationals denied entry to the shrine today were identified as Anak Agung Ngur Rahmayun (35), Gede Sarjana (31), Boimin (27), Inyoman Sutangga (26) and Darmoko (28). All are residents of Bali.

Earlier, on November 7 this year, three Indonesian nationals, including two women, were stopped by the priests since they “looked” like foreigners and spoke a “different” language. Suspecting that they were non-Hindus, the priests took them out and handed them over to the town police station.

However, much to their consternation, the three were discovered to be Hindus.

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