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Rath Yatra gets Supreme Court nod finally as devotion wins

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: The power of the Lords has finally got the Supreme Court moving and also the decision for the chariots to roll on Puri Badadanda a few hours later tomorrow. After 9 review petitions were moved in the apex court to get a nod to let the centuries-old Rath Yatra going, the Supreme Court on Monday modified its previous directive and gave a nod to the grand festival though with the ryder that the whole affair will be held without any public participation in view of COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court in a landmark directive had stayed the Rath Yatra asking to limit all rituals to the temple premises. The decision had shattered the hopes of all devotees, servitors, and people cutting across several sections of the society.
Puri Rath Yatra will now be held in coordination between the Puri Temple committee, Odisha and the Central government without compromising the health issue, the SC maintained adding that the State government can even stop the Rath Yatra.
The Centre and the State government earlier today sought permission from the SC to conduct Rath Yatra with precautions. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, mentioning the matter before a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, said that the entire festival can be telecasted live adding, “If Lord Jagannath will not come out tomorrow, he cannot come out for 12 years as per traditions.”
During the SC hearing today, the Solicitor General said that the belief needs to be taken care of so that health is not compromised and said the State govt has also stated that Rath Yatra can be limited to Puri temple alone.
Harish Salve, while representing the Odisha government, said, “We will coordinate with the temple committee and the Union too. If we need help, we will reach out to the centre. It can be taken on record.
Hearing the case, the CJI said that Rath Yatra was earlier stayed by the court in view of COVID-19 and an anticipated gathering of 10 to 12 lakh devotees.
Following the SC ruling, Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy said, “I am confident that Rath Yatra will be conducted smoothly tomorrow without devotees and with strict adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines.”
Moreover, as per the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah today held a discussion with Puri Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb over the conduct of RathYatra and inquired about the arrangements made for the annual sojourn of the deities.
Meanwhile, Pujapanda servitors today brought ‘Agyan Mala’ to the chariots on the Ratha Khala in Puri for their initiation and performed the Agyan Mala Bije rituals.

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