A day after the Gujarat High Court refused to revoke the stay on the 143rd Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad, the head priest of the temple said that a “game has been played” against him even as right wing organisations criticised the state government for its inaction on the issue.
Addressing media persons on Wednesday, Sant Dilip Dasji Maharaj, head priest of the Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad, 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’s comments come a day after the Gujarat High Court refused to modify its stay order dated June 20 on the Jagannath Rath Yatra in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, even as the state government tried a last minute attempt by moving an application around 11 pm on June 22.
On Tuesday, a token ceremony was held and chariots were made to take rounds inside the temple premises, instead of the 18-kilometre to-and-fro journey held every year from the temple in Jamalpur to Saraspur in Ahmedabad.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Das said that he was unhappy over the turn of events. “My comments were pertaining to the tussle between the state government and the High Court,” said Das.
When asked about the recent observation made by the Gujarat High Court that the temple committee raised no objection to the stay order for two days after June 20 or neither was it a party, Das said, “We did not receive any official communication on the stay order from the court or the government for us to react. We committed a mistake (by not approaching the court) due to lack of any official notice.”
In a purported reaction to the mahant’s comments, State Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja released a statement on Wednesday evening claiming that the state government had made all attempts with full determination to ensure that the Yatra took place.
“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 Ahmedabad is in red zone, we couldn’t get permission from the High Court,” read the statement from the office of Jadeja.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad Gujarat faction also released a statement on Tuesday night claiming that “Hindus will never forgive the current BJP government in Gujarat”.
“This (cancellation of Rath Yatra) is the result of lack of positive determination of the state government and it is extremely sad. The Hindu society will never forgive the current government for this. The government made a delay of three days in filing a petition in front of the honourable High Court and had a complacent attitude,” read the statement from Dilip Trivedi, president of Gujarat VHP.
Pravin Togadia of Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad also criticised the state government for its alleged inaction. “By breaking the 143-year long tradition of the Rath Yatra, the feelings of crores of Hindus have been hurt and they feel insulted. A society thrives on its culture and everywhere in the world, tradition is considered a law. When the Odisha government can fight for its tradition in the Supreme Court, what was the reason behind the delay by the state government in approaching the Gujarat High Court,” said Togadia.
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