Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, June 21:
Senior Odisha BJP leader and Union minister of state (Independent Charge), Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan today said the issue of the devotees climbing the chariot and touching the deities during Rath Yatra in Puri would not have aggravated, had the state government stuck to the provisions of law and gracefully accepted the advice of the Shankaracharya of the Gobardhan Peeth.
“Had the state government gone by the rule book, such unnecessary controversy could have been avoided”, Pradhan said in a release.
“The Shankaracharya is the sole advisor on the issue of rituals of the deities as per the statutorily recognized record of rights. While his opinion was accepted by the managing committee of the temple and endorsed by the Gajapati Maharaja Divyasingh Dev, the state government had no valid ground to get into the controversy and reverse the decision, he pointed out.
“Due to the unnecessary interference of the state government, the Odisha High Court had to intervene in the matter although the government was pretty aware about the provision of the records of rights that the power of the state extends only to secular functions and not to religious rituals”, the Union minister added.
Instead of poking its nose, the state government should leave the religious matters with the Shankaracharaya, the Gajapati Maharaja and the temple managing committees and take care of law and order and logistics support for the smooth conduct of the festival, Pradhan said.