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Donations stopped, Jagannath temple priest seeks Supreme Court permission to end his life

A priest of the Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s Puri has written to the Chief Justice of India seeking permission to end his life, about four months after the Supreme Court suggested the abolition of hereditary rights of the servitors and ordered that no devotee should be forced to give offerings to them. Servitor Narasingha Pujapanda has said his only source of income was from the devotees’ gifts and donations inside the temple.

“We beg from them and it has been continuing for more than a thousand years. The court and government are trying to stop our only source of income. How we will survive without income,” Pujapanda wrote in his petition on Wednesday. The court had mooted 12 proposals for reforms in the temple in July saying the servitors will have no claim on offerings made by devotees and all collections must go the temple ‘Hundi’ following a petition by Cuttack-based lawyer early this year.

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