Bhubaneswar: After her recent visit to Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri snowballed into a controversy, social media influencer Kamiya Jani on Sunday issued a clarification claiming that she is a Hindu and never consumed beef nor promoted it.
Jani, the founder of Curly Tales and a food blogger, posted a video on her Instagram platform a day after Opposition Congress demanded an apology from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and a cultural outfit staged a demonstration in the state capital demanding action against her.
The Opposition BJP has also made it an issue and demanded action against Jani and bureaucrat-turned-BJD leader VK Pandian, who allegedly facilitated her visit to the 12th century shrine.
In the video message, Jani said, “My aim behind visiting the Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri was to seek the blessing of the deity and inform people about the infrastructure development of the shrine. Unfortunately, my visit has become controversial”.
Noting that the temple authorities have rules, Jani said, “I want to clarify that I haven’t broken any rule. I am a practicing Hindu. I have neither consumed beef nor promoted it.”
Jani said that as a food blogger, she has informed people about local cuisines of various places and that’s what happened in the Kerala video, whose screenshots are being used. “This might be a misunderstanding. This clarification is to put an end to the misunderstanding,” she said in the video.
Earlier, the BJP projected her as a “beef eater” and also a promoter of beef consumption. The saffron party raised questions as to how she was allowed entry into the 12th century shrine which is strictly for only Hindus. The party demanded action against Jani and 5T (transformation initiative) chairman VK Pandian for allegedly facilitating her visit to the temple.
On the other hand, BJD MP Manas Mangaraj questioned the BJP for objecting to the visit of Jani to the Jaganath temple while the BJP government at the Centre was making documentaries by engaging Jani.
“BJP government appointed Kamiya Jani to make films on Hindu heritage and temples. She has gone to Chardham and Ayodhya to see Ram Lalla. And all of you love her for that,” Mangaraj said.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Friday criticised the “total disregard” for the sanctity of the 12th-century shrine. “By facilitating entry of a beef promoter into the revered shrine, VK Pandian has shown utmost disregard to religion, history and spirituality,” Singh wrote on X while demanding immediate and serious action against those responsible.
Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday issued a calculated statement saying, “Lord Jagannath is the centre of faith for all Odias and Sanatanis. Therefore, nothing should be done to hurt the sentiments of people, knowingly or unknowingly. No one should play with Odias’ unwavering love, devotion and reverence for the Lord.” He refrained from making any direct reference to Jani.
OPCC president sarat Pattnayak demanded an apology from Patnaik if Jani’s visit to the temple was done as per his instruction.
Shree Jagannath Sankruti Surakha Abhijan, a local outfit, also staged a demonstration in Bhubaneswar, demanding action against Jani and Pandian.
While Jani has issued clarification twice over the issue so far, Pandian has distanced himself from the matter and avoided questions on the row. “Jai Jagannth” was the reply of Pandian while asked to react over the matter.