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Char Dham priests to protest against Uttarakhand government’s decision to set up Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board

A priest from the Kedarnath shrine has already started a solo protest with bare chest sitting outside the Kedarnath shrine in the extreme cold conditions.

The priests of all the Char Dhams in Uttarakhand are planning to protest against the state government after the govt took an initiative to set up a board named Char Dham Devasthanam Management board. This was informed by a member of Devbhoomi Tirtha Purohit Haqhakudhari Mahapanchayat, an association of priests of all Char Dhams on Monday.

A priest from the Kedarnath shrine has already started a solo protest with bare chest sitting outside the Kedarnath shrine in the extreme cold conditions.

The Kedarnath priest Santosh Trivedi sitting in a solo protest outside the Kedarnath shrine is meditating as a sign of protest to demand that the board should be suspended. The priest community believes that the state government is taking over the control of the temples as it is after the funds generated by the temples.

As per reports, the priests’ community of temples protested in the last December when the Char Dham Devasthanam management board was formed to manage the 51 temples including these Char Dham shrines. The priests alleged that they were kept in dark about the law. They also alleged that the step is taken to sideline them and take full control over the temple related issues.

In last year December, the Uttarakhand government had passed a Char Dham Shrine Management bill. Later it made a small change by replacing the ‘Shrine’ with Devasthanam on the last day of winter session.

President of the priest body of Kedarnath, Kedarnath Tirtha Purohit Mahasabha, Vinod Shukla said, “Santosh Trivedi, the tirtha purohit of Kedarnath has been protesting since June 12 against the formation of the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board. As a sign of protest, Trivedi meditates thrice a day outside the shrine when prayers are being offered.”

Prayers are offered three times a day at the shrine which takes around 4 hours. The spokesperson of Devbhoomi Tirtha Purohit Haqhakudhari Mahapanchayat, Brijesh sati said that agitation against the bill will soon take place at the other shrines also. Sati said, “The priests of shrines like Gangotri, Yamunotri and Badrinath are discussing on how to step up the protests, and soon they will start at those shrines also.”

Ravinath Raman, the CEO of the Char Dham Devasthanam management board said that priests can protest but the board is formed by an act and is a government body. Raman said, “It is their democratic right to protest, so we cannot say anything about this. The Board is a government body made through an Act, so we cannot comment.”

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