Ahmedabad Jagannath Temple head priest upset with Guj HC decision against holding the yatra

He accused that the temple committee hadn’t received any official news of the stay order else it would have approached the court

Gujarat HCImage Courtesy:indianexpress.com

The restrictions on the Jagannath Rath Yatra has frayed the tempers of many right-wing organizations. A day after the Gujarat High Court refused to revoke the stay on the 143rd Lord Jagannath Yatra in Ahmedabad, the head priest of the Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad, Sant Dilip Dasji Maharaj said that “a game has been played” against him, even while right-wing organizations criticized the state government for not taking strong measures to revoke the restrictions, The Indian Express (IE) reported.

Head seer sees red

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Sant Dilip Dasji Maharaj said, “A big game has been played against me. I can’t say much but the trust I had bestowed upon those, has been broken (sic).”

Das spoke to the IE and said that he was unhappy over the turn of events. He said, “My comments were pertaining to the tussle between the state government and the High Court.” Reacting to the Court’s observation that the temple committee hadn’t raised any objection on the stay order two days after it was issued on June 20, and neither was it a party to the case, Das told IE that the temple committee hadn’t received any official communication on the stay order from the Court or the government for it to react, adding that it was a mistake that they had not approached the court due to lack of any official notice.

The seer’s comments came after the Gujarat High Court (HC) refused to lift the stay on the Jagannath Yatra on account of the Covid-19 situation in the state. Though it acknowledged the Supreme Court order which allowed the procession to take place in Puri with certain restrictions, it did not follow in the footsteps of the apex court. A symbolic procession was carried out in the Ahmedabad Jagannath Temple without the participation of the public was held instead, with Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani performing the ‘pahind vidhi’, the ritual of cleaning the road with a golden broom, IE reported.

Apparently to soothe the temper of the head priest, State Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja issued a statement where he said, “Regarding the 143rd Jagannath Rath Yatra on June 23, the state government with full determination tried to seek permission from the High Court through its advocate Kamal Trivedi. It is unfortunate that we could not get permission from the court for the Rath Yatra, which is a symbol of faith for lakhs of people. Since Odisha is in green zone and Karnavati, Ahmedabad is in red zone, we couldn’t get permission from the High Court.”

Earlier, before the Supreme Court’s verdict, Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nishchalanada Saraswati had also said that there was a ‘well-orchestrated plan’ to stop the Rath Yatra from taking place, Hindustan Times had reported. 

BJP affiliates blame lax approach of state government

Praveen Togadia, President of the Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP) also blamed the BJP for its ‘lackadaisical approach’ and said that the procession should be taken around Ahmedabad on July 1, the next Ekadashi to continue the centuries-old tradition, Daiji World reported. Addressing reporters he said, “The 143 year-old Ahmedabad Rath Yatra tradition has not been broken once, even during the British Raj. And it should have continued this year also… for this humiliation, the BJP and the state government is entirely to blame. I also blame the Jagannath temple trustees for a lackadaisical approach to this issue. Crores of Hindus have been insulted through this act.”

He also alleged that the temple trustees and the state government didn’t act promptly and put up their proposal to the Gujarat HC when it was extremely late, leaving no time to approach the Supreme Court. To continue the tradition, he proposed the Lord could be carried on a temple Mahant’s shoulder and taken around the city in a vehicle without any kind of procession, adding that his associates were pitching the idea to the temple trustees and state government and said that if the temple trustees couldn’t accept the proposal, they should resign.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in Gujarat on Tuesday also showed dismay over the decision of the Gujarat HC, IE had reported. After the procession was cancelled, Dilip Trivedi, VHP Gujarat President issued a statement saying, “Hindus will never forgive the current BJP government for their lack of determination,” visibly miffed with the outcome of the pleas put before the Gujarat HC.


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