Decision on Jagannath temple reforms after SC verdict: State Govt

The Supreme Court’s direction to initiate reforms in Shri Jagannath Temple at Puri and consider entry of non-Hindus to the temple has sparked off a raging debate even as the Odisha Government maintained that it will take a decision after the final verdict. Stating that the Government is

Published: 08th July 2018 02:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th July 2018 06:18 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR / PURI : The Supreme Court’s direction to initiate reforms in Shri Jagannath Temple at Puri and consider entry of non-Hindus to the temple has sparked off a raging debate even as the Odisha Government maintained that it will take a decision after the final verdict. Stating that the Government is yet to receive the Supreme Court order, Law Minister Pratap Jena said the apex court has given a proposal on the entry of non-Hindus into the Jagannath temple and the Government will take its decision after a unanimous conclusion is arrived at on the issue.

“We will examine the content of the order after getting a copy of it. The State Government will take a decision after the apex court gives the final verdict,” he said. The Government is keen on reforms in the Jagannath temple and if necessary, the Jagannath Temple Act, 1954 will be amended, he added. The Puri king Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb made a statement declaring that the decision of Shankaracharya was final on the issue.

He, however, said the issue will be discussed at the temple managing committee meeting after Rath Yatra and a decision taken. Meanwhile, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad strongly opposed the entry of non-Hindus into the temple and said it would file a review petition in Supreme Court to reconsider its proposal. Working president of its Odisha unit Badrinath Patnaik said Puri Gajapati and Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati should be consulted before taking any decision.

Seer against deviation in traditions

Manoj Rath, spokesperson of Gobardhan Pitha, the seat of Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati, said the decision of the seer is final on the issue. Quoting an earlier letter of the seer on the issue, Rath said the Shankaracharya had clearly mentioned that any deviation in the tradition of Jagannath temple in relation to entry of non-Hindus was not acceptable. On abolition of hereditary rights of servitors, he said the puja of every deity in the temple is conducted every day as per Shashtras. Any deviation would harm the divinity, Rath added.

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