The Odisha unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expressed outrage on December 21 over a video featuring social media influencer and Curly Tales founder Kamiya Jani interacting with Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader VK Pandian on the premises of the Jagannath temple. The BJP accused Jani, whom they described as a “promoter of beef consumption,” of being allowed access to the sacred temple, prompting the party to demand legal action.
Calling for immediate intervention, the BJP insisted on registering a case against VK Pandian and Kamiya Jani under IPC Section 295 A, urging for their immediate arrest. The party shared a screenshot from one of Jani’s earlier videos where she was seen promoting “beef dishes” alongside a snippet from the recent video in question, wherein she was endorsing the Puri Srimandir Heritage Corridor project and Mahaprasad alongside BJD leader Pandian.
In a statement, the party expressed its dismay, stating, “The sacred sanctity of Puri Srimandir, rich with historical and spiritual heritage, has been shamefully disregarded by VK Pandian, the chairman of 5T, who callously allowed a beef promoter into the revered premises of Jagannath Mandir. @bjd_odisha remains indifferent to the sentiments of Odia and the sanctity of Jagannath Culture! Those responsible must face swift and severe consequences.”
The sacred sanctity of Puri Srimandir, rich with historical and spiritual heritage, has been shamefully disregarded by VK Pandian, the chairman of 5T, who callously allowed a beef promoter into the revered premises of Jagannath Mandir. @bjd_odisha remains indifferent to the… pic.twitter.com/XGmrQVbFp9
— BJP Odisha (@BJP4Odisha) December 21, 2023
Odisha BJP General Secretary Jatin Mohanty echoed these sentiments, emphasising, “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). VK Pandian has made a crime by facilitating the entry of Kamiya into the temple. The incident has hurt the sentiments of crores of Hindus and devotees of Lord Jagannath.”
Mohanty further demanded immediate action from the government against VK Pandian and Kamiya Jani. He insisted that the temple administration issue an apology to the people of Odisha and sought sanctification of the temple following proper rituals, threatening legal action if the demands were not met.
Responding to the controversy on Instagram, Kamiya Jani clarified that she has never consumed beef. She wrote, “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 yet but just here to clarify that I don’t and have never eaten beef. Jai Jagannath.”
Despite Jani’s clarification, it was noted that her channel has, on multiple occasions, promoted restaurants and places that offer beef items.
Author Rashmi Samant also reacted to the matter and wrote on X, “As a Hindu, I am deeply hurt, troubled and traumatised by the new trend of Beef Promoters and influencers using Hindu temples and values as a point of monetization. Puri Srimandir is the newest target of such desecration. One has the choice to do whatever they want to until their actions start to infringe upon the belief, sentiments, even human rights of others. Our history is littered with countless instances where Hindus were forcefully fed beef. In the present day Bangladesh and Pakistan throwing beef at Hindu Temples and Homes is a common act,”
As a Hindu, I am deeply hurt, troubled and traumatised by the new trend of Beef Promoters and influencers using Hindu temples and values as a point of monetization. Puri Srimandir is the newest target of such desecration. One has the choice to do whatever they want to until their… pic.twitter.com/b8kEC0Tvhf
— Rashmi Samant (@RashmiDVS) December 22, 2023
She added, “Step one of normalizing their persecution. Its heartbreaking to see a member of the Odisha administration facilitate such circus at a place of utmost significance to Hindus and trivialize their sentiments and everyday persecution. Influencers need to also educate themselves before they use Hindus places of worship as their latest content bank. Our world deserves more humanity and sensitivity. Not such brazen acts to deliberately disregard, disrespect and endorsement of ongoing persecution. If you don’t mean us well, atleast have the dignity to leave us alone.”
As of now, BJD leader VK Pandian and the Srimandir Temple Administration have not issued any official response to the controversy. The situation remains under scrutiny as both political and public sentiments escalate.