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Social Media Influencer Kamiya Jani Under BJP Radar Over Temple Visit

| Updated: December 24, 2023 13:42

Social media influencer Kamiya Jani’s visit to Shree Jagannath Temple in Odisha has sparked a controversy, with the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) seeking her arrest.

The saffron party has questioned how an alleged promoter of beef consumption was allowed to enter the 12th century shrine in Puri, where entry of non-Hindus is strictly prohibited. It also said the Jani’s action had hurt the sentiments of a section of Hindus.

BJD leader and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik’s right hand man VK Pandian has also come under fire for accompanying Jani. The BJP also sought his arrest as well.

“BJD leader VK Pandian visited Jagannath Temple with a social media influence Kamiya Jani and had prasad in the premises of the temple with her. The influencer is known to have promoted beef consumption and such people are not allowed to enter the temple. This has hurt the sentiments of Jagannath devotees and both of them should be arrested,” says Odisha BJP general secretary Jatin Mohanty.

Mohanty also alleged that a video camera was used on the temple premises which is banned by Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).

Mohanty demanded the registration of a case against Pandian and Jani by SJTA under IPC Section 295 A for hurting religious sentiment of people. He also alleged that Pandian facilitated Jani’s entry into the temple.

“Social media influencer Kamiya Jani is a promoter of beef consumption. As per the law of Srimandir, no beef-eater could enter the temple without ‘prayaschita’ (penance). Pandian has facilitated the entry of Jani into the temple. The incident has hurt the sentiments of crores of Hindus and devotees of Lord Jagannath,” Mohanty told reporters.

It all came forth after Jani uploaded a video of her visit to the temple where she could be seen with CM Naveen Patnaik’s strongman and bureaucrat-turned BJD leader VK Pandian.

Kamiya Jani is the founder of Curly Tales, a platform boasting content of food and travel, and is a social media influencer who also makes videos with actors and sports persons among others. She has 756k followers on her Instagram profile while Curly Tales has 1.4 million followers. She travels to places and tries different local cuisines and shares the same for her followers to see and make note of in case they travel to these places.

Jani has mentioned on her Instagram bio that she is a Cultural Brand Ambassador of India and has been to 172 destinations.

She recently visited Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri where she was seen having the ‘Mahaprasad’ and discussing its importance, the ongoing heritage corridor project and other aspects linked to temple development with Pandian.

Amid the row, Kamiya Jani took her Instagram story and mentioned that she has been visiting all the Jyotirlingas and char dhams in the country as she is an Indian. However, mentioning that an article has been published in a newspaper over her visit, she said has never consumed beef.

“As an Indian, my mission is to take Indian culture and heritage to the world. I have been visiting all the Jyotirlingas and char dhams of India and what a privilege it’s been. Woke up to this strange article in the newspaper questioning my visit to Jagannath temple. Not that anyone has reached out to me but just here to clarify that I don’t and have never eaten Beef. Jai Jagannath,” she said.

Meanwhile, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration responded to the claims that the influencer took a camera to the temple premises. “The allegation made by a certain political party about YouTube influencer taking a camera to the temple premises is completely baseless,” the temple administration wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“There is no truth in this. If anyone has any evidence, if they present it, it will be investigated and necessary action will be taken,” it added.

Reacting to BJP’s charges, the BJD in a press conference said the opposition party was making baseless allegations and accused it of becoming intolerant over the development of the temple. The ruling party in Odisha also clarified that Jani had taken ‘Mahaprasad’ at Radha Ballav ‘Mutt’ (monastery) and not inside the temple premises.

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