Monday, June 26, 2017

Puri priests to move SC on Jagannath chariot access

Jun 26 2017 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Puri priests to move SC on Jagannath chariot access

The tug of war between the Shree Jagannath Temple administration and priests on the issue of prohibiting pilgrims' access to the chariots and the deities reached a flashpoint on Sunday , with the priests announcing that they would move court against the ban.Striking a defiant note on Sunday , priests allowed hundreds of devotees to touch the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra while they were being taken from the Jagannath Temple onto the chariots in the ceremonial Pahandi procession. This, despite the massive awareness campaigns launched by the temple administration earlier, warning devotees of police action if they touched the deities or climbed the chariots.
“Nobody can stop devotees from coming close to the dei ties. We will allow devotees to touch the deities in the coming years as well. We will soon move the Supreme Court, challenging the Orissa high court's order of 2014 that prohibited pilgrims from mounting chariots and touching the deities,“ said Ramakrushna Dasmohapatra, president of Daitapati Nijog, an organisation of temple priests that performs key rituals during Rath Yatra.
Dasmohapatra even launched a scathing attack on Puri royal scion Gajapati Di byasingha Deb for endorsing the ban. “Why is the Maharaja touching the deities then?“ he wondered. In 2014, the Orissa high court ordered the staterun temple administration to ensure devotees did not touch the deities or climb the chariots following a recommendation by the Puri Shankaracharya, Swami Nischalananda Saraswati. The restriction had left the priests fuming as many of them would let devotees get close to the idols in exchange for money .

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