Jagannath temple committee in Puri holds meeting on Rath Yatra rituals

Puri: A crucial meeting of the Jagannath temple management committee was held to discuss the possibility of performing all Rath Yatra rituals on the premises of the 12th century shrine, a day after the Supreme Court stayed the annual car festival.
The apex court had on Thursday stayed Rath Yatra, which was scheduled to begin on June 23, and all activities related to the festival, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shortly after, the Odisha cabinet, during an emergency meeting, passed a resolution, asking Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee (SJTMC) to carry out rituals inside the Puri shrine, in accordance with the direction of the court.
The meeting of the temple committee, under the chairmanship of Puri”s titular king Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb, is likely to weigh the possibilities of conducting all rituals in the shrine, after carefully studying the decision of the state cabinet, and the apex court directions, SJTMC member Ramachandra Dasmohapatra said.
After the meeting, a delegation is expected to meet Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalanand Saraswati to seek his advice on the matter, he said.
“A decision on the next course of action will be taken on the basis of the advice provided the shankaracharya,” Dasmohapatra said.
Noting that the three Rath Yatra chariots have already been made ready for rollout, he said that issue, too, would be taken up for discussion during the meeting.
Meanwhile, two organisations — Srijagannath Sena and Srikshetra Suraksha Bahini – have called for a dawn-to-dusk shutdown in Puri on Friday in protest against the cancellation of this year”s Rath Yatra.
Members of the two outfits also staged protests in the town, claiming that the state government did nothing to facilitate the annual car festival.
The apex court had issued its order on Thursday, based on a PIL filed by an Odisha-based NGO seeking cancellation or postponement of this year”s Ratha yatra, which is attended by millions of devotees from across the world.

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