Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, June 19:
Members of Jagannath Sanskruti Surakhya Mancha (JSSM), a city-based cultural outfit, today opposed the Odisha Government’s decision to form of a committee to look into the issue of allowing the devotees to mount the chariots during the Rath Yatra.
The JSSM members said the formation of the committee by the government is nothing short of foul play which is intended to delay the decision in the matter by holding a series of meetings that would never reach a proper conclusion.
The co-convener of JSSM Ajit Kumar Patnaik said the State Government should accept the verdict of Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth Swami Nischalananda Saraswati on the issue without any further delay.
“We along with other cultural outfit will stage a mass demonstration in front of the Lower PMG on June 21 and at the same time hold protests in all the district headquarters against the state government’s dilly dallying over the matter and its hesitation to say yes to the decision of Jagadguru Shankaracharya”, Patnaik said.
“On the same day we will submit a memorandum on the issue to the Odisha’s Governor Dr S C Jamir, ” he added.
The convener of JSSM Prafulla Kumar Rath said the right to take religious decisions are under the sole jurisdiction of the temple administration and the government should only say yes to it. It should refrain from interfering in the matter or announcing any other decision which is different from that of the temple administration.
Rath said the ‘Daitapati Nijog’, a body representing the daitapati servitors which has opposed the temple administration’s decision ratifying the Puri Shankaracharya’s suggestion, was just one of the 36 nijogs and cannot be allowed to hold the Rath Yatra to ransom.
” The state government will be held responsible if any untoward incident or law and order situation happens over the issue”, Rath warned.
The JSSM members alleged that there was some understanding between the Daitapati Nijog and the state government for which the decision on the chariot climbing issue is being delayed and warned the state government against playing with the religious sentiments of the people.
“They should endorse the views of the Jagadguru and end this unnecessary debate, ” the JSMM convenor added.
Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth Swami Nischalananda Saraswati and the Gajapati Maharaja of Puri on a meeting at the State Capital on May 12 had come up with a decision to put an end to the practice of devotees climbing the chariots and touching the deities during the annual Rath Yatra.