ROURKELA: Akhada committees in the communally-sensitive Rourkela city and Rajgangpur town of Sundargarh are up in arms against the district administration over its decision to not allow Ram Navami processions this year. On Thursday, representatives of Akhada committees held four rounds of discussions with district officials including Rourkela ADM Subhankar Mohapatra and SP Mukesh K Bhamoo in a hope to overturn the decision but the meetings remained inconclusive.
In an order on Tuesday, the administration stated that restriction was imposed on taking out of any procession and display of traditional weapons from April 10 to 14. There have been past instances of many untoward situations during Ram Navami procession, it said.
Resenting the order, different Akhada committees on Wednesday held meetings and decided to take out processions on Ram Navami at Rourkela on April 11 and Rajgangpur on April 10 with or without permission. Members of Akhada committees also staged protest in front of Rajgangpur police station opposing the decision.
Sources said in a bid to soothe frayed tempers, the administration has come out with several riders for taking out processions. These include taking out rallies through the secluded ring road instead of the Rourkela main road, no display of tradition weapons in tableaux, small crowd with limited vehicles and no provocative language during the processions which should be confined between 1 pm and 6 pm.
Till reports last came in, members of different Akhada committees were scheduled to meet at Sankat Mochan temple near Rourkela railway station on Thursday night to chalk out the future course of action. President of Shivaji Akhada committee SC Verma said the administration’s apprehension of provocative behaviour during Ram Navami procession is unfounded. “It is an attempt to break the five decades old religious tradition of the city,” he added.Meanwhile, a delegation of BJP met Rourkela ADM Mohapatra on the day and demanded to lift the ban on Ram Navami processions.