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Banke Bihari priests fined Rs 7.5L for offering ‘prasad’ to UP chief secy inside temple

Jul 5, 2015Agra: Following the controversy over UP chief secretary Alok Ranjan eating 'prasad' inside the Banke Bihari temple here last week, the temple authorities have slapped a fine of Rs 7.5 lakh on two priests, who had distributed it to the top official and others inside the restricted area.

Other than this, the temple management has also issued show-cause notice and sought explanation from the accused priests who were instrumental in arranging the event.

A CCTV footage had showed the chief secretary, who visited the holy city last Monday to review pace of development works here, having prasad inside the temple along with 74 other people. This is in violation of a 2004 court order which banned eating anything inside the restricted area of the world-renowned temple.

"In order to maintain cleanliness inside the Banke Bihari temple, a civil judge had passed an order in 2004 restricting any dining or eating of 'prasadam' inside the temple. We will not target those who were eating as they were not aware of the rules. But the temple priests and employees were aware of the rules and yet they distributed it," said Nandkishore Upmanyu, president of the temple committee.

"The punishments could be harsher for the two priests, as we can increase the fine amount or even lodge an FIR against them. This would be a lesson for others too, who have started playing with the temple rules," Upmanyu said.

He added that in view of the rising number of such violations, the temple committee would be holding a meet on July 8 to discuss measures to curb this.

Earlier this year, a committee instated by Banke Bihari temple members had slapped a fine of Rs 8.6 lakh on five priests for allowing 43 devotees to perform "VIP darshan" from a reserved sanctum in January 2015. The Allahabad high court has banned entry of more than four persons into the sacred area of the temple.

The temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, is said to have been built in 1862 by Haridas Swami, a devotee. The temple is one of the oldest shrines in Vrindavan which has more than a thousand Krishna temples.

Source: timesofindia

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