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Odisha govt faces flak over cancellation of Rath Yatra

Bhubaneswar: Following the Supreme Court’s stay on the annual Rath Yatra this year in view of COVID-19, the Odisha government on Thursday faced flak from various quarters for not making enough efforts to convince the court to hold the annual festival of Lord Jagannath and his siblings.
Senior servitor Binayak Dasmohapatra said this is pre-planned as Odisha government was trying to stop Rath Yatra since Akshaya Tritiya.
“All preparations for the centuries-old annual festival have gone wasted. What had not happened in the last five centuries became a reality today. The government has been trying to stop all the rituals from the day of Akshay Tritiya, but it allowed chariot construction and other rituals in fear of facing backlash from devotees,” said Dasmohapatra.
He said the Rath Yatra could have been organised without the participation of devotees.
Leader of opposition Pradipta Naik said instead of moving the court, the state government should have found a way out to hold the festival after holding wider consultation with experts.
He blamed the government for lack of clarity on the issue from the beginning.
“It is an emotional issue for 4.5 crore people of Odisha and the state government should have found a way out to hold the festival. But, it indirectly stopped the annual festival of Lord Jagannath,” said Naik.
Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said Odisha government has finally become successful in its plan to stop Rath Yatra.
The state government was in fear that if it stopped Rath Yatra, it would hurt the religious sentiment of people and they would never forgive the government. That’s why it sought a judgement of Supreme Court, said Bahinipati.
On the other hand, Puri’s ‘Aadyasevak’ of Lord Jagannath, Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb, said everyone has to obey the apex court verdict.
“The Supreme Court’s judgement will definitely hurt devotees of Lord Jagannath across the globe. As Rath Yatra can’t be conducted outside, we will seek suggestion of Shankaracharya on the feasibility of conducting rituals inside Srimandir premises,” he added.

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