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Odisha Rath Yatra : Devotees not allowed to climb chariots, says Law minister

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 11:

Devotees would not be allowed to climb the chariots on Rath Yatra day this year, Odisha Law minister Arun Sahoo said after a three-hour long meeting with the Daitapatis (servitors) here today.

climbing the rath 1“The Daitapatis have agreed to the proposal to bar devotees from mounting the chariots not just on Rath Yatra day, but also on Bahuda Yatra and Suna Besha,” the minister said.

Asked if the devotees would be allowed on to the Rath on other days, the minister said; “It is a highly sensitive issue and needs wider consultation with all stake holders.”

The Daitapatis, however, added a rider saying even on these three days, devotees would be allowed to climb the chariots after the rituals are over. “The devotees would be allowed to mount the chariots after they reach their destination on Rath Yatra and Bahuda Yatra day and also after the rituals of the Suna Besha are over,” a spokesperson for the Daitapatis said after the meeting.

The difference in the interpretation of the decision taken today leaves room for confusion and has the potential to snowball into a fresh stand off between the two sides.

The Daitapatis, it may be noted, have been up in arms over Jagadguru Shankaracharya’s opinion that the practice of devotees climbing the chariots and touching the deities is against the scriptures.