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Police: People Breaks Security During President’s Visit To Puri temple

The Odisha Police today said “some people” had breached the security cordon

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Police: People Breaks Security During President's Visit To Puri temple
Police: People Breaks Security During President's Visit To Puri temple. Flickr

The Odisha Police today said “some people” had breached the security cordon during President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to the Puri Jagannath Temple with his wife on March 18.

The statement by Puri Superintendent of Police Sarthak Sarangi comes a day after the state government denied receipt of any letter from the Rashtrapati Bhavan regarding the alleged misconduct of servitors in the 12th century shrine.

A section of the media had reported that the Rashtrapati Bhavan wrote to the temple administration, alleging inappropriate behaviour by servitors outside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple

Sarangi said the district collector of Puri, ahead of the President’s visit, was asked to ensure that no servitor goes close to the First couple or requests them to sign on any book during their visit to the temple.

“Though the temple administration had informed the servitors about the instruction, some people tried to go close to the President by breaching the security cordon. We had submitted a report to the temple administration in this connection,” Sarangi said.

However, the minutes of the temple management committee’s March 20 meeting, which had been in circulation on social media, mentioned that the Rashtrapati Bhavan expressed displeasure over the conduct of servitors.

It also said some servitors allegedly milled around Savita Kovind, while she was offering prayers inside the temple’s sanctum sanctorum, leading to occasional jostling.

Hon'ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, visited Belur Math on 29 Nov 2017
Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, visited Belur Math on 29 Nov 2017. Flickr

Sources in the temple administration, in their defence, said the March 20 meeting might have discussed the matter, based on a police report, which suggested that the security cordon was breached during the First couple’s visit.

The president of the Suar-Mahasuar Nijog (servitors’ organisation), Damodar Mahasuar, today lodged a complaint at the Singhadwara police station against Puri Collector Arvind Agarwal and former Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief Pradeep Jena, accusing them of trying to defame the servitors of the temple.

Binayak Dasmohapatra, the assistant secretary of another servitors’ body, said, “If such an incident had taken place, the police should have arrested the servitors immediately.” The temple administration is trying to malign the entire servitor community, he alleged.

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“Why did the temple administration and the police did not take action? Why did the temple administration not make the incident public after the meeting on March 20?” Dasmohapatra asked. (IANS)

Next Story

House Democrat Issues Subpoenas for U.S. President Donald Trump Tax Returns

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House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., who is demanding President Donald Trump's tax returns for six years, is joined at right by Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., at a hearing on taxpayer noncompliance on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 9, 2019. VOA

A top House Democrat on Friday issued subpoenas for six years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, giving Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig a deadline of next Friday to deliver them.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., issued the subpoenas days after Mnuchin refused to comply with demands to turn over Trump’s returns. Mnuchin told the panel he wouldn’t provide Trump’s tax records because the panel’s request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose,” as Supreme Court precedent requires.

Neal reminded the two Trump appointees in a Friday letter that federal law states that the Internal Revenue Service “shall furnish” the tax returns of any individual upon the request of the chairmen of Congress’ tax-writing committees and that Ways and Means “has never been denied” a request.

Donald Trump
Neal originally demanded access to Trump’s tax returns in early April. VOA

Refusals to comply

The White House and the Democratic-controlled House are waging a multifront battle over investigations into Trump, and the administration has been refusing to comply across the board — refusing to comply with subpoenas for the unredacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller and documents related to the testimony by former White House counsel Donald McGahn.

Neal originally demanded access to Trump’s tax returns in early April. He maintains that the committee is looking into the effectiveness of IRS mandatory audits of tax returns of all sitting presidents, a way to justify his claim that the panel has a potential legislative purpose. Democrats are confident in their legal justification and say Trump is stalling in an attempt to punt the issue past the 2020 election.

FILE - Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee, April 9, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee, April 9, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

In rejecting the request earlier, Mnuchin said he relied on the advice of the Justice Department. He concluded that the Treasury Department is “not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information.” Mnuchin has also said that Neal’s request would potentially weaponize private tax returns for political purposes.

“While I do not take this step lightly, I believe this action gives us the best opportunity to succeed and obtain the requested material,” Neal said in a statement.

President won’t budge

Trump has privately made clear he has no intention of turning over the records. He is the first president since Watergate scandal of Richard Nixon’s presidency to decline to make his tax returns public, often claiming that he would release them if he were not under audit.

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“What’s unprecedented is this secretary refusing to comply with our lawful … request. What’s unprecedented is a Justice Department that again sees its role as being bodyguard to the executive and not the rule of law,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J. “What’s unprecedented is an entire federal government working in concert to shield a corrupt president from legal accountability.”

But the president has told those close to him that the attempt to get his returns was an invasion of his privacy and a further example of what he calls the Democrat-led “witch hunt” — like Mueller’s Russia probe — meant to damage him. (VOA)