Bhubaneswar, June 21 (IANS) Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati on Sunday alleged that there was a “well-orchestrated plan” to stall the Rath Yatra in Puri this year in view of COVID-19.
The statement of the Puri Shankaracharya came after several petitions were filed in the Supreme Court seeking modification in its earlier order to allow the Rath Yatra only in Puri.
“A number of people and organisations promptly moved the Supreme Court and filed applications seeking reconsideration of the order. If the court had wanted, it could have taken up for hearing the petitions on June 20,” he said.
He said the courts do remain open even on holidays during special circumstances.
“Now with only one day left for Rath Yatra, it seems a well-orchestrated plan was hatched to stop Rath Yatra,” the Shankaracharya said in a statement.
Notably, the apex court had on June 18 stayed holding of Rath Yatra across Odisha in view of COVID-19 situation.
Puri Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb, in a letter on Saturday, requested Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take appropriate steps for approaching the Supreme Court for partial modification of its order so as to permit performance of Ratha Yatra only at Puri.
Puri BJP MLA Jayant Sarangi has also written a letter to the Chief Minister for holding of the annual festival in the pilgrim town.
Meanwhile, both Congress and BJP asked the state government to ensure that the traditional practices of Jagannath temple are upheld at any cost.
BJP’s state unit president Samir Mohanty said the state government should pay importance to the suggestions of Puri Gajapati and hold talks with Shankaracharya.
Odisha Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik said the state government wakes up only when the crisis hits a peak.
“Unfortunately, the Odisha government wakes up only when the crisis hits a peak. It must initiate a discussion with stakeholders and find a way to preserve our ancient traditions. Otherwise, history will not forgive them,” he added.