Saturday, August 8, 2020
Home Opinions Is the Odisha Govt merely abiding by SC order to stop Ratha Jatra of...

Is the Odisha Govt merely abiding by SC order to stop Ratha Jatra of Shri Jagannatha this year? Here is the truth

After the order, at 7:30 PM in the evening, the state government held a cabinet meeting and decided to "Comply with the Supreme Court directive". While state govt wants to paint a picture that it’s the SC order which stopped the Ratha Jatra, people can see through it. SC took this decision based on state government response which was not affirmative.

The annual Ratha Jatra of Prabhu Shri Jagannatha won’t be held this year. The last time it happened was in 1733 when Mohammed Taqi Khan attacked the temple and the idols were shifted to Ganjam district. After 285 years, Supreme Court has halted the Ratha Jatra this year due to the ongoing pandemic caused by the Chinese virus, as Odisha government apprised SC of the dangers of the congregation.

A brief background of events may be in order before understanding how the matter reached court. In the first week of May, the Odisha government said that they would seek MHA’s directive on whether Ratha Jatra can be held this year. The first sign of their lack of decisiveness. On a pure state administrative matter, they sought MHA directive. On 7th May, MHA issued a letter to Chief Secretary, Odisha clearly outlining that it’s for the Government of Odisha to decide if they want to celebrate Ratha Jatra or not. However, the construction of chariot and other rituals may begin.

After receiving the order, the Odisha government said that they will make a decision at an opportune time. However, they allowed the chariot construction to begin, 12 days after Akshaya Tritiya, the usual date on which it begins.

As per Shree Jagannatha Temple Administration (SJTA, a government body) order, Swabs of all sevayatas associated with Ratha Jatra rituals were collected and sent for testing. They were quarantined at Bhakta Nivas and advised to stay there and not meet anyone else till the end of Ratha Jatra. With reduced manpower and lost days, they pulled double shifts day and night to finish the work on time.

Other rituals associated with the Jatra were also conducted as per rule. Deva Snana Purnima (Bath Ceremony) was conducted with minimal sevayat presence. Below you can see Deva Snana Purnima during last year and this year.

Here is a view of deserted Bada Danda (Grand Road) during Deva Snana Purnima.

All this while, state government remained non committal but the rituals proceeded as usual. SJTA held meetings with various stake holders. On 11th of June, a previously unheard NGO, Odisha Vikas Parishad, filed a PIL in SC stating that “Holding Ratha Jatra in Odisha from June 23rd will be catastrophic, in light of rising COVID cases”.

On 18th June, a 3-judge bench including CJI Bobde began hearing. SG Tushar Mehta, appearing for the centre, asked the court to allow some rituals to be performed. However, Harish Salve, representing Government of Odisha, apprised the Court of “the dangers of the congregation if any celebration is held”.

The court noted, “We have experience that anytime something is allowed, people gather”. The order was unanimous and CJI said “Lord Jagannath won’t forgive us if we allow Ratha Jatra this year” before passing an order to cancel Ratha Jatra for the year 2020.

It’s important to note here that, all this while, the state govt was facilitating the preparatory work for Ratha Jatra. Quarantining all sevayata associated with Ratha Jatra, swab tests, make-shift island on Bada danda separated by barricades for Ratha Khala (Where chariot is constructed), planning to seal Puri boundary before Ratha Jatra and so on. Devasnana Purnima was held with extraordinary discipline and no COVID guideline was broken. None of these facts was presented before the court by the state’s counsel Mr Harish Salve. In fact, the original petition paints the Deva Snana Purnima as a health hazard and asserts that if Deva Snana Purnima is held, there is a chance that Ratha Jatra will be held and hence, it should be stopped.

In absence of any of these facts before the bench, how did the bench conclude that allowing Ratha Jatra is dangerous? It is also surprising that the state government which remained non-committal but allowed all rituals to go on with required safety measures argued against celebrating Ratha Jatra. Why then govt of Odisha never even once clarified its position with respect to Ratha Jatra, to the people of Odisha? They deserved to know what the government’s view is vis-a-vis Ratha Jatra. 

After the order, at 7:30 PM in the evening, the state government held a cabinet meeting and decided to “Comply with the Supreme Court directive”. While state govt wants to paint a picture that it’s the SC order which stopped the Ratha Jatra, people can see through it. SC took this decision based on state government response which was not affirmative.

While the state government argued against celebrating Ratha Jatra fearing congregation of people, it may be noted that, on 30th May, CM appealed people to sing “Bande Utkala Janani”, now the state anthem, to pay tributes to the Corona warriors. The following pic is from the same event held on Puri Bada Danda.

Puri Bada Danda (Grand Road) on 30th May, Congregation to Sing Bande Utkala Janani, the state anthem

Anyways, as law abiding citizens, we must respect the SC order and state government decision. As we say here in Odisha, “Chaka Akhi Sabu dekhuchi” – The One with the round eyes is watching it all.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Related Articles

Trending now

Hindus, the last standing major pagan culture in the world: Hagia Sophia, AIMPLB and why secularism is a scam

While Muslim majority Turkey wants to intervene in Kashmir, AIMPLB talks about the Hagia Sophia even as it wags its finger at the Supreme Court

“Ghus ke maro salo ko”: Muslims clashed with Hindus objecting to Ram Pujas on 5th August in West Bengal

Muslims came out in large numbers in Kolkata to prevent Hindus from celebrating the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan on 5th August

Child abuse? Netizens react as co-founder of AltNews shares the photo of an underage girl to intimidate the grandfather

Responding to a tweet by a Twitter user, Md Zubair chose to target the young girl seen in the profile image of the user instead of replying

‘Kashi Mathura Baki Hai’: Krishna Janmabhoomi Nirman Nyas set up in Mathura, 80 sadhus from 14 states named as members

The original Keshavnath Temple was destroyed by Aurangzeb and the Shahi Idgah Mosque was built on its plinth.

Senior lawyer K Parasaran who fought Ram Mandir case is not on Twitter, colleagues clarify after fake account gets followers

One of those heroes who rose to the challenge and was instrumental in the reclamation of Ram Janmabhoomi is 93-year-old K Parasaran, who successfully led the legal fight of Hindus

Palghar case: Maharashtra govt to file status report, SC asks for inquiry report against cops who handed over Sadhus to mob

SC asked the Maharashtra govt to file a status report in connection with the brutal lynching of two Hindu sadhus and their driver in Palghar on April 16.

Recently Popular

Pakistan borrows $1 Billion from its all-weather ally China to repay $1 Billion Saudi Arabia loan to avoid default on international debt obligations

China tightens its grip over Pakistan, gives $1 billion loan to repay Saudi Arabia's $1 billion loan, grants 90% of $6.8 billion railway project

Twitter user arrested by Maharashtra police for criticising the Uddhav Thackeray govt on social media

Mumbai Police arrested Twitter user Sunaina Holey for posting against Maharashtra CM and his son, to be presented in court today

Child abuse? Netizens react as co-founder of AltNews shares the photo of an underage girl to intimidate the grandfather

Responding to a tweet by a Twitter user, Md Zubair chose to target the young girl seen in the profile image of the user instead of replying

Muslims chose to stay back in India: An analysis of the mythical, unsubstantiated trope that is used to make Hindus feel guilty

Muslims who stayed back in India after the partition, did not primarily do so out of their innate love for mother India

Sunaina Holey, arrested by Mumbai police a day after getting bail in the same ‘offence’, released after lawyer raises alarm: Read details

Vivekananda Gupta, lawyer of Sunaina Holey, has dubbed the arrest by the Maharashtra Police illegal.

While most Bollywood actors and cricketers chose not to welcome Ram Mandir, here are the ones who did not shy away

Only a few actors and sportspersons celebrated Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan and shared wishes on social media.

India cites Pakistani patronage to Dawood Ibrahim’s D-company in a fresh FATF appeal at the UNSC

India raises the issue of Pakistan shielding D-Company boss Dawood Ibrahim at the United Nations Security Council

Uttar Pradesh: Hindu activists block highway, demand arrest of Md Arif, Shadab and others for communal posts on Facebook on Bhoomi Pujan

The Hindu activists demanded that immediate action must be taken aginst the Muslim youths for their communal posts

The KGB ties of Indira Gandhi: How India became a puppet of USSR during the Cold War

Mitrokhin Archives are considered to be the most sensational coutner-intelligence documents that have blown the whistle on several countries.

Eid in Balochistan: Another Eid and another protest by Baloch people seeking release of their loved ones abducted by Pakistani military

For the last 10 years on every Eid, families of Baloch missing persons have been protesting on the first days of Eid seeking their return

Sunaina Holey, arrested by Mumbai police a day after getting bail in the same ‘offence’, released after lawyer raises alarm: Read details

Vivekananda Gupta, lawyer of Sunaina Holey, has dubbed the arrest by the Maharashtra Police illegal.

Rajiv Gandhi did not want Ram Mandir dispute to be settled, withdrew support after Chandra Shekhar had resolved the age-old issue: Claims upcoming book

Rajiv Gandhi did not want Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute to be resolved as he did not want Chandra Shekhar to take credit for the same

Hindus, the last standing major pagan culture in the world: Hagia Sophia, AIMPLB and why secularism is a scam

While Muslim majority Turkey wants to intervene in Kashmir, AIMPLB talks about the Hagia Sophia even as it wags its finger at the Supreme Court

Kerala nun rape case: Rape-accused Bishop Franco granted bail again by Kottayam trial court

The court will now hear the case on August 13, 2020, when the charge-sheet will be read out in the court.

Modi govt abolishes textile board with ‘activists’ and ‘experts’ pontificating, to get work done through institutes like NIFT instead

The Handloom Board was an ornamental board that had activist and experts who essentially pontificated without doing any real ground work

Bollywood: Rapper Badshah questioned by Mumbai police crime branch over fake follower scam

As per reports, there are over 170 high-profile stars who have allegedly paid to gain fake followers on social media.

Connect with us

239,250FansLike
423,962FollowersFollow
293,000SubscribersSubscribe