Drenched in religious fervour - Cops serve torani and get closer to devotees

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By SANDIP BAL
  • Published 19.07.13
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Puri, July 18: Cops today quenched the thirst of devotees with abhada and torani. This served another purpose as well: to let people know that despite their strictness they are not bad after all.

Soon after director-general of police Prakash Mishra inaugurated the kiosk to serve the drinks, a large number of people gathered to have their share of the holy fermented watery rice extract.

Opened by the Odisha Police Havildar, Constable and Sepoy Mahasangh, the Abhada Torani Bantan Kendra run by volunteers of the police force, provided relief to the devotees till 2pm.

“We have to control the crowd here and for that we have to be stern. People usually misunderstand us because of this. This is an endeavour to get closer to people. Once we quench their thrist, they co-operate with us,” said the president of the sangh’s Puri district branch.

The kiosk opened today near the Gundicha temple, while another had been opened near the Singhadwaar of the Jagannath temple on rath yatra day.

The police personnel distributing the drink said abhada and torani are both considered sacred in Jagannath culture. According to legend, the two ingredients are favourites of Lord Jagannath.

The policemen said they mixed the divine prasad with curd, green chillies, lemon, ginger, curry leaves and jeera powder. During ghosha yatra, or pulling of the chariot from the main temple to Gundicha, nearly 3 lakh devotees partook of the mix.

Today it was hot and humid till 2pm, after which there was a heavy downpour. The distributors had mixed glucose with the drink to help devotees fight dehydration.

Samuel Rout from Nischitkoili, Jajpur, Prabhu Lenka of Banta Bhadrak and Snigdha Sethi of Balasore town were the first to taste the abhada torani from the police-run kiosk.

“Whenever we come here, we always have a lot of tanka torani. Here, abhada has been mixed with this torani giving it a splendid taste. Its flavour is refreshing and cools the stomach,” said Samuel, a devotee. Snigdha said the service would continue till evening. But in the afternoon, the skies opened up.

Sudhakar Sahu, a devotee who was forcibly stopped by policemen while he was trying to enter the cordon this morning, said that after having the torani from the police counter, his attitude towards the cops changed. “They are really nice people. They do become a bit harsh while doing their duty though. They must keep on with their good work,” said Sahu.