Social distancing norms went for a toss as a huge crowd of people gathered outside the popular Banke Bihari Temple here on Saturday as it opened after over seven months in view of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.
The police reached the spot to control the crowd and accused the temple authorities of mismanagement.
“The indecisive temple officials are responsible for the crowd outside the temple amid the pandemic situation,” Deputy SP Ramesh Chand Tewari said.
He said the temple authorities failed to put in place a proper registration mechanism to prevent crowding of people.
This has led to confusion among the devotees, the officer said.
Tewari added that the police cannot lathicharge innocent devotees for the fault of the temple management. The temple manager, Munish Sharma, said it had been decided to permit a limited number of devotes into the complex every day after they register themselves online.
However, we faced issues with the online system and are trying to fix the glitches, he said.
Meanwhile, a war of words broke out between Sharma and the temple priest over the incident. Sharma alleged that the main priest, Shailendra Goswami, failed to open the shrine to devotees at 8 am, following which a lot of people had to wait outside.
He said Goswami was busy performing special pooja for a select number of devotees inside the temple complex. The priest, however, refuted the charges.
He said he was given entry into the temple at 8 am and that it usually takes two hours to adorn the deity with jewels and clothes.
“We completed the ‘shringaar’ (adorning the deity with jewels) in less than two hours as it was already late,” Goswami said.
He said he has lodged a complaint with civil judge (Junior division) regarding the conduct of the temple manager.