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Petition filed in Orissa High Court to allow celebration of Durga Puja in Odisha

Cuttack: Even as uncertainty looms large over the Durga Puja celebration this year in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, a petition was filed in the Orissa High Court on Tuesday seeking permission to organise the festival.

Cuttack Balu Bazaar Puja Committee, which is one of the oldest Puja committees in the Silver City, has filed the petition in the High Court and urged the court to allow the festival in order to preserve the 500-year-old tradition.

The committee members have assured the court that the festival will be celebrated with strict adherence to social distancing and other safety guidelines in force in view of the pandemic.

The petitioners have cited the example of Rath Yatra which was allowed this year to preserve the centuries-old tradition. In addition, they have urged the court to allow making of idols for the Durga Puja.

The home department of the State government, police commissioner and deputy commissioner of police (DCP) have been made respondents to the case.

It may be noted that the State government had restricted community level celebration of Ganesh Puja this year in view of the pandemic. With the trend of Covid-19 showing no signs of abating, doubts are already being flagged whether the government will allow Durga Puja this year as the festival which is held mostly at a community level is the prime time of festive season in the State.

In a related development, servitors of Mangla temple in Kakatpur have moved the State’s apex court seeking opening of the temple for devotees. Citing that they are reeling under financial crisis due to ban on devotees, the servitors demanded assistance like for the sevayats of Puri Lord Jagannath Temple.

Acting on the petition, the HC has issued notice to the State government, Endowment Commission and the temple trust.

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