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Tussle over right to perform puja at Nartiang Durga temple
Staff Correspondent
 SHILLONG, Sept 23 - The tussle over the right to perform Puja at the Durga Temple at Nartiang in Meghalaya between two groups has kept the district administration at its edge with the groups fighting for their rights today.

The over 500 year-old Durga temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths of the Hindus located at Nartiang, in West Jaintia Hills and a major tourist destination.

However, in the past few months there has been tension as two groups of local villagers want their preferred priest to have the right to perform the Puja.

Due to the tension, the district administration locked the Temple recently, but the Meghalaya High Court ordered the administration to immediately open the lock and let the rituals in the temple continue. It also directed the administration to maintain law and order at the site.

Thereafter the temple was unlocked, but the brawls between the two groups have continued.

“Last Friday, there was a brawl and one woman sustained minor injuries. Today morning again there was a brawl. We are closely monitoring the situation and a magistrate has been detailed at the site,” Garod LSN Dykes, West Jaintia Hills Deputy Commissioner said over phone.

He said that mostly women are involved in the brawl. “We have asked the Superintendent of Police to requisition a unit of women police and station it at the site from tomorrow,” he said.

Sources say most villagers want the old priest to continue the prayer rituals at the temple. “There is a vested interest group involved in creating the tension at the holy site,” sources added.

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