Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 4:
Former Odisha chief minister and Assam governor JB Patnaik has deplored the irresponsible manner in which the state government treated the hallowed institution of the Shankaracharya of the Puri Gobardhan Peeth during the Rath Yatra.
Talking to local television channel Focus Odisha on Thursday night, Patnaik said the way the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) dashed off a letter to the Shankaracharya, directing him to visit the chariots alone, without carrying any of his followers with him, was utterly insulting and should be condemned.
“The Gobardhan Peeth has centuries-old association with the Sri Jagannath Temple as it is this hallowed Hindu institution which determines the rituals and other religious activities in the temple with the aid and advice of the Shankaracharya. However, with the refusal of the Puri seer not to climb the chariots in this year’s Rath Yatra following the ‘insulting diktat’ from the temple administration, an age-old tradition has been violated”, Patnaik pointed out.
Stating that the decision of the Shankaracharya over the issue of chariot climbing by devotees was rightly upheld by the Odisha High Court , the veteran leader said the reasons behind the state government’s unilateral decision to impose restrictions on the Shankaracharya’s chariot visit is unclear to him.
“It seems the government took such a decision out of fear because it was unduly apprehensive of how the Daitapati servitors would react”, he observed.